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Pakistan issues final warning to TikTok on “immoral” content – Latest news

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Pakistan’s telecoms regulator issued a “final warning” to the video app TikTok about explicit content posted on the platform, while the live streaming app Bigo Live was blocked for the same reason.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, faces issues worldwide, including Australia, India and the United States, due to security and privacy concerns.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said it had sent TikTok and Bigo Live notices to moderate content after receiving complaints, but its response was unsatisfactory.

“The PTA decided to immediately block Bigo and issue a final warning to TikTok to establish a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity, and immorality through its application on social media,” its statement said.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, TikTok said it was committed to increasing dialogue with authorities to explain policies and demonstrate a commitment to user safety.

TikTok said it removed more than 3.7 million “violator user videos” from Pakistan in the second half of 2019: more than 98% before a user reported them and more than 89% before they had a single view.

Singapore-based BIGO Technology, which owns Bigo Live, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MILLIONS OF DOWNLOADS

TikTok is one of the most popular applications in the world.

In Pakistan, it has been downloaded nearly 39 million times and is the third most downloaded application in the past year, according to analyst firm Sensor Tower. Bigo Live has been downloaded more than 17 million times in Pakistan.

TikTok was briefly banned in neighboring India last year after a court said it encouraged pornography, and was again banned this year after a military dispute with China.

However, Pakistan shares close ties with China, which is its largest investor and its strongest ally.

In July, the PTA also banned the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) platform, with more than 16 million users in Pakistan, due to complaints that the game was addictive and harmed children’s physical and psychological health.

Pakistan’s new digital and social media laws have been widely criticized by human rights activists as draconian.

“This appears to follow an ideology of state control over information flows in Pakistan, and entertainment apps like these are an easy target since they are primarily used by young people,” said Usama Khilji, director of Pakistani digital rights group Bolo Bhi. .

“It should not be up to the state to dictate the morality of citizens.”

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