TikTok

Pakistan bans TikTok for failure to neutralise “immoral and indecent” content

TikTok blocked for failing to filter out ‘immoral and indecent’ content, Pakistan’s telecommunications authority says.

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Pakistan is the latest country to jump on the “Let’s ban TikTok” bandwagon, banning TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content, the country’s telecommunications authority said.

The decision came after a number of complaints from different segments of society, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a statement on Friday.

In 2016, Pakistan’s parliament passed the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) to regulate, among other things, content on the internet.

It gave the PTA broad powers to block content considered to be against “the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or … public order, decency or morality”.

The TikTok app has been installed nearly 43 million times in the country, including 14.7 million installs this year alone. That makes Pakistan TikTok’s 12th largest market. The U.S., by comparison, has seen over 200 million downloads, according to SensorTower.

A TikTok spokeswoman said the company is in regular communication with Pakistani authorities and removes content in violation of its policies in all markets where it operates. The company’s transparency report shows that it removed nearly 6.5 million videos in Pakistan between January and June, the third-most of any country behind India and the U.S.

The same report shows the Pakistani government made four requests to TikTok about content, citing 40 user accounts. Only two of those accounts were removed or restricted.

The spokeswoman for TikTok said the company hopes to get the app back online in Pakistan as it seeks to avert bans elsewhere.

“TikTok is an inclusive platform built upon the foundation of creative expression, and we are hopeful to reach a conclusion that helps us serve the country’s vibrant and creative online community,”

Amnesty International slammed the ban on TikTok, saying that in the name of a campaign against vulgarity, people are being denied the right to express themselves online.

Usama Khilji, director of Bolo Bhi, a Pakistani group advocating for the rights of internet users, said the decision undermined the government’s dreams of a digital Pakistan.

‘The government blocking an entertainment app that is used by millions of people, and is a source of income for thousands of content creators, especially those coming from smaller towns and villages, is a travesty to democratic norms and fundamental rights as guaranteed by the constitution,’  

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