Pakistan’s telecommunications regulator issued a “final” notice to Chinese video app TikTok on Monday over concerns it encourages “immoral, obscene, and vulgar content,” the Times of India‘s Gadgets Now reported on Tuesday.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) released a statement Monday saying it had previously tried to address the issue of explicit content posted on TikTok with company leaders but received a response that was “not satisfactory.” The PTA said it had a similar experience with the Singapore-based live-streaming app Bigo Live.
“Therefore … PTA has decided to immediately block Bigo and issue final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity, and immorality through its social media application,” the statement read.
The Islamic country’s 2016 Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act regulates “content on the internet, giving the PTA broad powers to block content considered to be against ‘the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or … public order, decency or morality’,” Al Jazeera reported.
Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has been downloaded nearly 39 million times in Pakistan and ranks as the nation’s third-most downloaded app over the past year, according to data from Sensor Tower. Bigo Live had been downloaded over 17 million times in Pakistan prior to Monday’s ban.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “focal person on digital media,” Arslan Khalid, said he supported issuing TikTok a “final warning,” Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported Tuesday.
“The recent exploitation of female TikTokers, the objectification and sexualization of young girls on TikTok was causing huge pain to the parents [and] was proving detrimental for our society,” Khalid wrote on Twitter.
On June 29, Pakistan’s neighbor, India, banned TikTok along with 58 other China-based apps citing data privacy concerns that threatened “national security.” The move came amid rising diplomatic and economic tensions between India and China, which manifested in a deadly border clash between the two nations on June 15.
Unlike India, Pakistan maintains a close relationship with China through Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, which allows the Chinese Communist Party to act as the developing nation’s chief investor.