Why is Pakistan rescinding TikTok ban?

Pakistan is the 12th largest market of TikTok in terms of app downloads; 43 million individuals have the application installed on their smartphones.

TikTok Pakistan

Pakistan, just 10 days since banning the global video-sharing platform TikTok has decided to unban the same after getting a ‘positive response’ from the application’s management. The South Asian country banned TikTok on account of immoral, indecent and obscene content on April 9.

The PTA’s statement suggests that TikTok moderation may be stricter in the country going forward. Pakistan is the 12th largest market of TikTok in terms of app downloads; 43 million individuals have the application installed on their smartphones.

According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), TikTok has “assured” the agency that videos will be moderated “in accordance with societal norms and the laws of Pakistan.”

Read more: After Bangladesh, TikTok faces ban in India

It’s noteworthy that, in the past, despite repeated requests by the PTA, the agency responsible for moderating online content, TikTok refused to entertain their requests.

In fact, the company’s latest transparency report showed that TikTok acted on only two accounts out of 40 from which Pakistan requested content be restricted.

“We’re pleased to see that the TikTok app has been restored in Pakistan and that we will be able to continue enabling Pakistani voices and creativity in a safe environment,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

‘Failure of TikTok to moderate unlawful content’

On October 9, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked China-based social media application TikTok in the country. The authority cited the failure of the social media app to follow the instructions on the “development of an effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content”.

PTA added that it took action as they have received numerous complaints from people over indecent and immoral content shared on the social media app.

Read more: “Pornography”: Pakistan issues “final warning” to TikTok

In the past few month, Pakistan had issued several warnings to the social media app over the increasing indecent and vulgar content on its platform.

In July, it had issued a final warning to the app to clamp down on what it called “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content on the video-sharing platform, or else it would face a ban in the country.

TikTok has become a global sensation with its 15 to 60-second video clips and is hugely popular among young Pakistanis, with some users building up millions of followers.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has said that it was blocking another app, Bigo, and had received a number of complaints about TikTok over its “extremely negative effects on the society and the youth in particular”.

Moreover, senior leaders including Prime Minister Imran Khan had also expressed concerns over social media app likes TikTok spreading vulgarity and immorality in society, local media outlet, The News quoted Information Minister, Shibli Faraz as saying last month.

Read more: Should TikTok be banned in Pakistan?

He said PM Imran Khan had pressed for the regulation and monitoring of the content on these applications. Khan had also ordered for a comprehensive strategy to check the vulgarity spread in the society through mainstream media outlets and its applications. Faraz quoted the premier as saying that obscenity lead to increased sexual offences against women and children in society.


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