Pakistan lifts ban on TikTok after the Chinese app promises to moderate content
The Pakistan telecom body’s decision has come more than a week after it had blocked the Chinese video-sharing platform over “immoral and indecent” contentUpdated: Oct 20, 2020, 12:44 IST
Pakistan’s telecom regulator on Monday announced that it was lifting a ban on popular video-sharing app TikTok. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a statement that the decision was taken after TikTok’s management assured the PTA that it will block all accounts “involved in spreading obscenity and immorality” in the country.
The Pakistan telecom body’s decision has come more than a week after it had blocked the Chinese video-sharing platform over “immoral and indecent” content.
ByteDance-owned TikTok later said in a statement that it was pleased to see the app unblocked for users in Pakistan. “We appreciate the PTA’s commitment to ongoing productive dialogue and recognise their care for the digital experience of Pakistani users,” it said.
The move was widely welcomed in Pakistan where a number of people have turned into stars overnight because of the content they produced and the followers they amassed.
Pakistan is TikTok’s 12th largest market and analysts say the popularity of the app grew phenomenally in the country this year during the lengthy coronavirus-related lockdown.
The video-sharing app has been downloaded nearly 43 million times in Pakistan, including 14.7 million this year alone, according to data from research firm SensorTower.
Amid TikTok’s growing popularity across Pakistan, there have been complaints over some of the content that is shared on the platform. The company’s transparency report shows that it has taken down nearly 6.5 million videos between January and June - the third highest for any country after India and the US.
The report also shows that the Pakistani government had reported 40 accounts to TikTok over content it didn’t agree with, but only two of those accounts were removed or restricted by the app.
Pakistan closely monitors online content and has put in place regulation that asks digital platforms to remove content that the government finds objectionable.
In September, the government said it blocked access to the dating apps Tinder, Tagged, Skout, Grindr and SayHi for what it called “immoral and indecent content”. The government had also blocked YouTube from 2012 to 2016 reportedly over blasphemous content that hadn’t been removed by the platform at that time.