Meta says not required to pay for Indonesia news content posted voluntarily

JAKARTA (Reuters): Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc on Thursday said it understood it was not required to pay for content by news publishers posted voluntarily by users in Indonesia, after its government issued a regulation requiring digital platforms to "split profits" with media firms.

Meta's statement follows Indonesia's president signing the regulation requiring digital platforms to pay media outlets that provide them with content, a move aimed at levelling the playing field between big tech companies and the media industry.

In another development, Indonesia's current account swung to a deficit in 2023 on shrinking merchandise exports due to a slowing global economy and declining commodity prices, the central bank said on Thursday.

South-East Asia's largest economy recorded a $1.6 billion current account deficit last year, or 0.1% of GDP, compared with a surplus of 1% of GDP in 2022, which had been fuelled by a global commodity boom.

The nation's balance of payments stood at a surplus of $6.3 billion in 2023.

The latest data meant 2022 was Indonesia's only year of booking a current account surplus in the past 12 years.

Economists often cite the frequent deficits as one of Indonesia's main weaknesses as the country typically relies on portfolio inflows to plug the gap.

Bank Indonesia on Wednesday maintained its forecast that the current account deficit will remain within a range of 0.1% to 0.9% of GDP this year, one of the bank's series of economic assumptions underpinning its decision to keep policy rates unchanged.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Indonesia's current account deficit widened to $1.3 billion, or equivalent to 0.4% of GDP, from the previous three months, while its balance of payments was at $8.6 billion surplus.

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