TikTok, the popular video sharing social media app, has been banned in Pakistan after the country deemed content on the app ‘immoral and indecent.’ Pakistan is the second Asian country to ban the app after India banned it earlier in 2020, citing security concerns over the app’s Chinese ownership. The United States also faces an imminent TikTok ban on November 12th, lest the company’s owner sell a majority stake to an American developer before the deadline.
Pakistan’s ban on TikTok represents a much different approach to the app than that of India or the United States. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority previously issued a warning to TikTok, as well as another app called Bigo, threatening to ban the app if the company did not censor its lewd or vulgar content from Pakistani users.
“In view of number of complaints from different segments of the society against immoral/indecent content on the video sharing application TikTok, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued instructions for blocking of the application,” read a statement issued by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority on Friday. “Keeping in view the complaints and nature of the content being consistently posted on TikTok, PTA issued a final notice to the application and gave considerable time to respond and comply with the Authority instructions for development of effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content,” read the statement.
The Authority first released its final warning to the app back in July, claiming that he app could be banned if it did not censor material deemed offensive or immoral by the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority. “However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for blocking of TikTok application in the country,” read the final sentence of the most recent statement.
Users in TikTok are reportedly already being cut off from access to the app, but some have criticized the decision by suggesting that the ban has more to do with users on the app poking fun at Pakistani leadership than it does ‘immoral content.’