Nepal banned China’s TikTok because the social network’s content was “harmful to social harmony.”
The decision comes days after the country approved a new rule that requires social media companies to create offices in the country.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma told BBC Nepali, the BBC’s service in Nepal, that the platform had released inappropriate content.
She added that “the ban would come into force immediately. Telecom authorities have been instructed to respect it.”
But Gagan Thapa, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress, which is part of the coalition government, questioned the government’s decision to impose a ban on TikTok.
He said this was an attempt to restrict freedom of expression and that authorities should focus on regulating the platform.
TikTok has come under scrutiny from authorities around the world due to concerns that user data could be passed on to the Chinese government.
Its parent company, ByteDance, has already rejected the allegation. TikTok did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on the Nepal government’s latest ban.
More than 1,600 cases of cybercrime related to TikTok have been recorded in the last four years in Nepalaccording to local press reports.
According to BBC Media Action’s report on network usage in Nepal, O TikTok It is the third most used platform nationally.
While YouTube and Facebook are popular among internet users of all age groups, TikTok is highly popular among younger age groups, with more than 80% of users aged between 16 and 24 who use the platform.
Pakistan has temporarily banned the app at least four times since October 2020, while the online shopping service on the platform was closed in Indonesia last month.
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