TikTok Is Being Blocked in Pakistan for Hosting 'Immoral' and 'Indecent' Content

TikTok will be blocked for users in Pakistan for hosting "immoral" and "indecent" content, its telecoms regulator announced Friday.

In a statement, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) claimed it had received a "number of complaints from different segments of the society" about the short form video app, which is currently owned by the Chinese tech firm ByteDance.

The agency said it was issuing instructions for the app to be blocked, although did not specify what content it believed to be in violation of its laws or regulations.

"Keeping in view the complaints and nature of the content being consistently posted on TikTok, PTA issued a final notice to the application and gave considerable time to respond and comply with the Authority instructions for development of effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content," it nsaid.oted.

"However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for blocking of TikTok application in the country.

"TikTok has been informed that the Authority is open for engagement and will review its decision subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content."

A TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek: "TikTok is an inclusive platform built upon the foundation of creative expression, and we are hopeful to reach a conclusion that helps us serve the country's vibrant and creative online community.

"We believe feeling safe helps people feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and allows creativity to flourish. We have robust protections in place to support a safe and welcoming platform for our community, including moderation, clear Community Guidelines and mechanisms to report content for review."

In view of number of complaints from different segments of the society against immoral/indecent content on the video sharing application TikTok, pic.twitter.com/Vmp5umixeL

— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) October 9, 2020

In July this year, the PTA said a "final warning" was issued to TikTok, citing "extremely negative effects on the society in general and youth in particular." It asserted that the response from the social media company had "not been satisfactory."

The authority at the time banned another app, called Bigo, for allegedly breaking rules in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016, local media reported.

Last month, Pakistan's information minister Shibli Faraz was quoted as saying Prime Minister Imran Khan was concerned with growing "obscenity and vulgarity" in society, including on social media platforms and mobile apps, The News reported.

"[Khan] is a man who has spent his life in the West and thus understands the strength of our social and cultural values, which must be protected," Faraz told the outlet, indicating the prime minister did not want to allow content violating the country's religious values.

TikTok was recently banned in India, with officials citing privacy and security concerns. It has faced the threat of being blocked in the U.S. by the Trump administration. Software giant Oracle and retailer Walmart are currently in talks for a stake in the business.

This article was updated with a comment from a TikTok PR spokesperson.

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In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating and sharing short videos TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone in front of a TV screen displaying the TikTok logo on September 15, 2020 in Paris, France Chesnot/Getty