Nepal’s government has issued a decisive ban on TikTok, citing concerns that the popular Chinese-owned social media app was undermining “social harmony.” The move follows a recent decision requiring social media companies to establish liaison offices in the country.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma emphasized the immediate implementation of the ban, pointing to the platform’s alleged dissemination of malicious content. This decision comes in the wake of increasing global scrutiny on TikTok, which has faced bans in several countries, including India, the US state of Montana, and the UK Parliament.
While the government argues that the ban is a necessary step to regulate a platform causing social disruption, Gagan Thapa, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress, questions the move.
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Thapa suggests that the ban might be an attempt to curtail freedom of expression and urges officials to focus on regulating TikTok instead. The debate highlights the delicate balance between addressing potential social issues and preserving citizens’ freedom on digital platforms.
TikTok, with its billion monthly users, has come under increased global scrutiny over concerns that user data could be misused by the Chinese government. The parent company, ByteDance, has consistently rejected such allegations.
The ban in Nepal adds to a series of actions taken by various countries, including temporary bans in Pakistan and restrictions in Indonesia. As TikTok’s growth among young users surpasses its competitors, the ban underscores the ongoing struggle between governments and social media platforms, raising questions about data privacy, national security, and the responsibility of tech companies in the digital age.