The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) banned the use of the Chinese TikTok application on Friday, Oct. 9, arguing it did not filter out “immoral and indecent” content.
The PTA reported that complaints were filed from some sectors of society about “immoral and indecent” content shared on TikTok, leading to a final warning about “obscenity, vulgarity, and immorality” being issued to TikTok in July, according to Breitbart News.
Weeks ago, the PTA also announced a ban on the popular mobile game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), owned by Chinese company Tencent, as “addictive” and harmful to children’s physical and psychological health.
In July, India banned several Chinese applications, including TikTok and PUBG, calling them to “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order,” according to the BBC.
The content policies established by the Chinese social network have been questioned before.
Last year, the case of a young man whose account was temporarily blocked from the social network after he posted a critical video denouncing the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang detention camps by the CCP became known.
The young user of the video that was removed last year questioned whether the application was not being used by the Chinese regime “to not let the truth be set free.”
The use of videos popular among young people has aroused mistrust in different countries. Last month Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was looking “very closely” at the Chinese property application, and several agencies had been investigating whether it posed a security threat.
TikTok has been questioned primarily by the U.S. government given indications that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) requires companies to share data with Chinese surveillance and intelligence agencies, compromising the information of thousands of users.
The cyber think tank ProtonMail warned, “Its zealous data collection, use of Chinese infrastructure, and its parent company’s close ties to the Chinese Communist Party make it a perfect tool for massive surveillance and data collection by the Chinese government [CCP].”
The cybersecurity firm Penetrum points out in an analysis that “37.70% of the known IP addresses linked to TikTok are Chinese,” indicating that the excessive amount of data collection as well as the vulnerability in TikTok’s code are aspects that should concern users.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said that TikTok was given sufficient time to respond and comply with protocols to effectively moderate “”unlawful online content.”
“However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for blocking of TikTok application in the country,” according to The News International.
For its part, the company said it was “committed to following the law” wherever the application is offered, and stressed that its highest priority is “maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment.”
According to a representative for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, among the reasons that would have been considered for the ban on the application would be the “exploitation of TikTokers women” and “the objectification and sexualization of young girls.”
Khan is reportedly actively working on the issue and has called on Pakistani telecommunications agencies to work hard to ban immoral content.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz said in September, “PM Imran is extremely concerned about the growing obscenity and vulgarity in the society and has directed all the relevant sections to stop the trend before it destroys the socio-religious values of Pakistani society,” according to Breitbart News.