- Pakistan’s telecoms regulator has issued TikTok with a “final warning,” threatening to ban it over complaints about “immoral, obscene and vulgar content.”
- The regulator has already blocked live streaming app Bigo on the same grounds.
- Earlier this month, TikTok and Bigo were both blocked in India as part of a ban on 59 Chinese apps.
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TikTok will be banned in Pakistan unless it cracks down on “immoral, obscene, and vulgar content,” the country’s government has said.
The warning came after Pakistan blocked live streaming app Bigo. “On complaints of immoral, obscene and vulgar content, streaming app Bigo has been blocked in Pakistan. TikTok has also been served with final warning on same grounds,” Pakistan’s telecoms regulator, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), said in a statement on Monday.
The PTA said it had already warned both companies that their content was infringing the country’s morality laws. “However, the response of these companies has not been satisfactory,” the PTA said in its statement. It’s not clear from the PTA’s statement exactly how long TikTok has to change its practices before it is banned.
A spokesperson for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, told Business Insider that the company was “committed to further strengthening our safeguards to ensure the safety of our users, while increasing our dialogue with the authorities to explain our policies and demonstrate our dedication to user security.”
They added that TikTok removed more than 3.7 million user videos from Pakistan in the second half of 2019, most of which were removed before they had been viewed.
The warning from Pakistan comes less than a month after both TikTok and Bigo were banned in India, although the country’s cite different reasons. Bigo is Chinese, and TikTok is owned by a Chinese company — both were blocked on June 29 as part of a wholesale ban on 59 Chinese apps. India claimed the move would preserve “data sovereignty.”
The ban came after a border clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the disputed territory of Ladakh on June 15.
TikTok is also facing scrutiny in the US, where President Trump has suggested he might ban the app as a way of punishing China for the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan also announced a temporary ban on July 3 on popular multiplayer battle royale game PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds), saying it had received complaints the game is “addictive, [a] wastage of time and poses serious negative impact on physical and psychological health of the children.”
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