Pakistan bans TikTok over 'immoral and indecent' content

The Muslim-majority country has regulations requiring media to stick to social customs.

Mike Blake / reuters

TikTok may have received a temporary reprieve from its ban by the Trump administration recently, but the app is struggling to keep its welcome in other countries. Following a recent ban in India, TikTok has been blocked in Pakistan as well. In a press release issued today, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) cited “complaints from different segments of the society” and “the nature of the content being consistently posted on TIkTok.”

The PTA noted that it had issued a final notice to the app prior to today’s announcement, and provided “considerable time to respond and comply with the Authority instructions for development of effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content.” TikTok had “failed to fully comply with the instructions,” the PTA said, resulting in the ban.

The PTA also said it is “open for engagement and will review his decision subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content.” On Twitter, the PTA’s statement received mixed reactions, with the majority of replies lauding the decision while some criticized the department.

In March, the Pakistan government issued a notification through its Citizen Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules that require social media companies to “take due cognizance of the religious, cultural, ethnic and national security sensitivities of Pakistan.”

According to Nikkei, TikTok said it was "committed to following the law in markets where the app is offered” and that it’s regularly communicating with the PTA and continuing to work with them. A TikTok spokesperson told Engadget “We believe feeling safe helps people feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and allows creativity to flourish,” noting that it has “robust protections in place to support a safe and welcoming platform for our community, including moderation, clear Community Guidelines, and easy mechanisms to report content for review."

The spokesperson added, “We are hopeful to reach a conclusion that helps us continue to serve the country's vibrant and creative online community."

Update (at 12:53pm ET): This article was edited to include TikTok’s statement to Engadget.