Pakistan Unblocks TikTok After Banning it For 10 Days Over 'Immoral' Content
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has decided to unban video sharing platform TikTok which had initially been banned on October 9 for its “obscene and immoral” content.
In a tweet, the PTA said that TikTok will be restored in the country after the platform's management assured that all accounts that had been spreading "obscenity and immoral content" would be blocked and that content would be moderated based on local laws. The authority has not yet commented on whether the ban will be lifted immediately.
On October 9, when the app was banned in Pakistan, the move triggered furor on social media. While the move seemingly follows India's footsteps to ban the viral short video social media platform, the reasons appeared to be different – in Pakistan, the decision to block TikTok does not seem to be fuelled by privacy concerns.
TikTok is being unlocked after assurance from management that they will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality. TikTok will moderate the account in accordance with local laws.— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) October 19, 2020
The ban followed a 'final warning' by the country's telecommunications regulator in July against the Chinese app's explicit content. “We have been asking them repeatedly to put in place an effective mechanism for blocking immoral and indecent content,” one of the top officials directly involved in the decision then said. “The platform, however, hasn’t been able to fully satisfy Pakistani authorities. The decision has been taken to block TikTok for accessing in Pakistan,” he said.
Oh the joy on my parent's cook Arshad's face as I tell him TikTok has been unbanned. He has 7000 followers and his pride and joy is his TikTok account (in which my mom's kitchen is regularly featured).— Zebunnisa Burki (@zburki) October 19, 2020
TikTok is being unbanned after an agreement with the Government of Pakistan.I am convinced under the guise of morality what the Government is doing is striking data sharing agreements with these companies.— Shehzad Ghias Shaikh (@Shehzad89) October 19, 2020
TikTok is back, for now. Wonder how in 10 days Pakistan govt curtailed fahashi on TikTok..— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) October 19, 2020
Bakwas decision— Neutral Umpire (@Syedhamzagul) October 19, 2020
Very Bad ..— kashf rana (@kashfmohyudin) October 19, 2020
PTA Wrong decision😬— Faizan Ansari (@FaiziAnsarii) October 19, 2020
The news of the ban being lifted came as a welcome move. TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been caught in a firestorm globally due to security and privacy concerns. It has already been blocked in India and it faces scrutiny in countries from Australia to the United States.