PTA again blocks TikTok, says action taken over failure to remove 'inappropriate content'

Published July 21, 2021
The TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13. — Reuters
The TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13. — Reuters

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday again blocked access to TikTok, a popular video-sharing platform, for its failure to take down "inappropriate content".

"In light of relevant provisions of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, PTA has blocked access to [the] TikTok app and website in the country," the authority said in a brief statement.

"The action has been taken due to [the] continuous presence of inappropriate content on the platform and its failure to take such content down," the statement said.

The first time the Chinese-owned app was banned in Pakistan was in October 2020. According to the PTA, the decision was taken over complaints regarding indecent and immoral content. It was lifted 10 days later after the company assured the telecom regulator it would block accounts "spreading obscenity".

This year in March, the Peshawar High Court had also imposed a ban on the video-​sharing application that was later lifted in April.

In June, the Sindh High Court followed suit and ordered the PTA to suspend access to TikTok in the country for “spreading immorality and obscenity”. The court had lifted the suspension three days after issuing the order.

6 million videos removed in Pakistan in first quarter of 2021

Last month, the app said that more than six million videos were removed from TikTok in Pakistan in three months.

“In the Pakistani market, TikTok removed 6,495,992 videos making it the second market to get the most videos removed after the USA, where 8,540,088 videos were removed,” TikTok Pakistan's latest transparency report said, covering January to March.

Around 15 per cent of the removed videos were “adult nudity and sexual activities”.

A spokesman said the Pakistan-made videos were banned as a result of both user and government requests.

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