Popular video-sharing platform TikTok has said that it removed nearly 12.5 million videos from Pakistan in the first quarter (January to March) of 2022 for violating community guidelines, placing the country second on the list of largest volume of videos removed.

In a press release, TikTok said as per the latest "Community Guidelines Enforcement Report", Pakistan had a removal rate of 96.5 per cent before any views and 97.3pc before 24 hours.

The report reflects the platform’s ongoing commitment to earn trust by being accountable while working to be safe and welcoming. Efforts include fostering authentic engagement across the comment space, safety reminders for creators and adhering strictly to the extensive community guidelines, it said.

"A proactive removal rate of 98.5 per cent was used by TikTok to remove 12,490,309 Pakistani videos," the press release said.

With these figures, Pakistan ranks second in the world for the largest volume of videos taken down in the first quarter of 2022, following the United States which ranks first with 14,044,224 videos removed.

In this quarter, 102,305,516 videos were removed globally, which represents about one per cent of all videos uploaded to TikTok, the statement added.

TikTok explained that the videos were removed for violating its "robust set of community guidelines that are designed to foster an experience that prioritizes safety, inclusion, and authenticity".

In addition, the report showed that in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, TikTok's safety team removed 41,191 videos, 87pc of which violated its policies against harmful misinformation.

"TikTok also labelled content from 49 Russian state-controlled media accounts. The platform also identified and removed six networks and 204 accounts globally for coordinated efforts to influence public opinion and mislead users about their identities."

The report also showed that the total volume of ads removed for violating TikTok's advertising policies and guidelines increased in the first quarter of 2022, the press release concluded.

A tale of four bans

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

In March 2021, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had also imposed a ban on the video-​sharing application that was later lifted in April.

In June the same year, the Sindh High Court had 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.

However, the PTA had blocked access to the platform again in July 2021 for its failure to take down "inappropriate content".

Later in November the same year, the PTA had restored TikTok in the country following assurances by the Chinese social media giant that it would "control" the uploading and dissemination of "immoral and indecent content" on the app.

The PTA had also agreed to establish a mechanism with TikTok to ensure that all content uploaded on the platform was lawful and safe for society.

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