According to the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority, the Chinese social media app was blocked for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content.
Pakistan has banned the Chinese social media app TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content, the country’s telecommunications agency said.
The decision came after a number of complaints from various walks of life, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a statement on Friday.
“Taking into account the complaints and the nature of the content that is regularly posted on TikTok, PTA has issued a final notice on the application,” the statement said.
“However, the application did not fully comply with the instructions. As a result, instructions have been issued to block the TikTok application in the country. “
Given the number of complaints from different sectors of society against immoral / indecent content in the video sharing application TikTok, pic.twitter.com/Vmp5umixeL
– PTA (@PTAofficialpk) October 9, 2020
The PTA said TikTok has been informed that the regulator is open to engagement and will review its decision if TikTok provides a satisfactory mechanism to moderate illegal content.
In July, the regulator issued a “final warning” to the short-form video app about explicit content posted on the platform.
TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been caught in a firestorm around the world due to security and privacy concerns. It has already been blocked in India and is under review in countries from Australia to the US.
TikTok was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
The decision came after Prime Minister Imran Khan showed keen interest in the issue, a government official told Reuters, adding that Khan had directed telecommunications authorities to make every effort to block content deemed vulgar in the conservative country be valid.
The move comes months after the live streaming app Bigo Live was blocked for the same reason and the video sharing platform YouTube was warned to block “vulgarity and hate speech”.
The dating app Tinder has also been blocked by Pakistani authorities in recent months.
In 2016, the Pakistani Parliament passed the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) to regulate content on the Internet, among other things.
It gave the PTA far-reaching powers to block content deemed “against the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan, or … against public order, decency or morality”.
According to rights groups, PTA has blocked access to more than 800,000 websites and platforms within the country.
The list of blocked websites includes pornographic platforms, but also news outlets that are seen as critical of the country’s security and foreign policies, some social media and the websites of some political parties.