An Instagram account posting comics with gay characters disappeared this week after Indonesian officials pressed the company to take it down. The Indonesian government is now saying that Instagram removed the account, but Instagram denies any involvement. With the situation unclear, Instagram has come under criticism for its alleged censorship of an LGBTQ artist.
The account, Alpantuni, posted comic strips about what it’s like to be gay in a Muslim Indonesian community, showing how gay characters would face abuse and discrimination. It reflected Indonesia’s increasingly conservative political environment where gay men have been targeted by authorities, and in at least one recent case, publicly flogged.