Pakistan has decided to block social media App TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral” content, three top government officials said on Friday. A formal announcement to this effect will be made in a few hours, the officials said. While the move seemingly follows India’s footsteps to ban the viral short video social media platform, the reasons appear to be different – in Pakistan, the decision to block TikTok does not seem to be fuelled by privacy concerns.
“We have been asking them repeatedly to put in place an effective mechanism for blocking immoral and indecent content,” one of the top officials directly involved in the decision told Reuters. “The platform, however, hasn’t been able to fully satisfy Pakistani authorities. The decision has been taken to block TikTok for accessing in Pakistan,” he said.
In July, Pakistan’s telecommunications regulator issued a “final warning” to the short-form video app over explicit content posted on the platform. TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been caught in a firestorm globally due to security and privacy concerns. It has already been blocked in India and it faces scrutiny in countries from Australia to the United States.
TikTok’s streak of misfortune has stemmed from a wide variety of reasons, initially including lack of proper curation and quality control, and of late, privacy debates that have risen as a result of its parent company, Bytedance’s allegedly close ties to the Chinese government.
TikTok was not immediately reachable for comment on the matter. The decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan took a keen interest in the issue, said a second official in Pakistan, adding that Khan has directed the telecom authorities to make all efforts to block vulgar content in the conservative Islamic republic.
(With inputs from Reuters)