Pakistan on Friday banned Tiktok for what it called obscene content, restricting it to the latest popular Chinese video-sharing app, which is also struggling with blocking in the US.
India banned the app in June, along with dozens of others, citing cyber security concerns. It faces a ban in the US in November, if the company does not seal an agreement with Oracle to protect the data of American users.
Pakistan considers China as its most reliable ally and has considered it a strategic partner for decades. Pakistan is a showcase for Beijing’s global program to build infrastructure overseas.
Pakistan’s telecom regulator said that some of the material on Tiktok broke the law in Pakistan for being immoral and indecent. The regulator said that repeated requests for the app to filter the content did not work.
A Tiktok spokesman said, “Tikkok is an inclusive platform built on the foundation of creative expression, and we look forward to a conclusion that helps us serve the country’s vibrant and creative online community.”
Tiktok is popular in Pakistan, rocking the masses – often from remote corners of the country – in celebrities overnight, with wacky videos. It criticized the government on issues that worried poor people the most, such as rising food prices.
“Tikotok was the voice of the poor in the social media revolution, until this platform had passed them on a large scale,” said Habib Khan, director of a Karachi-based digital marketing company named Penbambra.
Tiktok has a lot of Islamic content, such as users singing religious songs or challenging Hollywood stereotypes of the community in America
In response to a fatal encounter between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the disputed border of the countries in the Himalayas in neighboring India, the people had a similar incident until the country banned Tickcock and others.
A Pakistani official said that the authorities were mainly concerned about nudity on the app. He said that Pakistan had asked Tiktok to apply a filter which automatically blocked the content considered obscene but the posting of the video was much faster than the one taken down. He said that he was not worried about the political content on the stage.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said in a statement, ‘Tickcock has been informed that the authority is open for engagement and will review its satisfactory decision to resolve any illegal content by Tickcock’.
Tiktok has also gone into trouble in the past with Indonesia, Bangladesh and India over the content reported by those governments.
In Egypt, the reaction to Tiktok is more harsh, with women posting videos of themselves and dancing to songs.
Amnesty International said that since April 2020, Egyptian authorities have arrested 10 female Tiktok affected and prosecuted for violating cybercrimes law, “other legal provisions related to” promoting decency and ‘immorality ” . The human rights group said four women were sentenced to two to three years in prison and heavy fines, while six others await trial.
In Pakistan, Tikkok was banned last month after banning dating apps, including Tinder, for allegedly supporting prostitution.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said that he wants to promote “Digital Pakistan”, but critics say that instead of the authorities restricting the Internet. The government is currently working on new rules that will force social media companies to remove content they consider objectionable.
– Waqar Gilani in Islamabad contributed to this article.
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