Pakistan to Block TikTok on Court Order, Telecoms Regulator Says

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Pakistan will block social media app TikTok on a court order, a spokesman for the country’s telecoms regulator said on Thursday.

“The court has asked PTA to block access to TikTok,” Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) spokesman Khurram Mehran told Reuters, adding the authority would comply with the order.

A high court in the city of Peshawar said it was ordering the ban after a private complainant said the social media app was spreading indecent content, Jehanzeb Mehsud, a lawyer who represented the PTA, said.

In October last year, the country decided to lift a ban on TikTok after the company vowed to block all accounts involved in spreading “obscenity and immorality.”

The move came some 10 days after Pakistan blocked TikTok for failing to block “immoral and indecent” content.

“TikTok has agreed to moderate accounts in accordance with local laws,” said a spokesman for the PTA, adding that the app had some 20 million monthly active users in the country.

TikTok was the third most-downloaded app in Pakistan over the past 12 months, behind WhatsApp and Facebook, according to analytics firm SensorTower.

PTA had said it was open to discussions with TikTok if the company was willing to moderate unlawful content.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has become hugely popular in a short period of time, by encouraging young users to post brief videos. But the app has been mired in controversy in a number of countries, with authorities raising privacy concerns and security fears due to its links with China.

TikTok has denied that its ties to China pose a security concern in other countries.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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