Pakistani authorities again banned the popular TikTok video platform on Thursday, after a court ruling in favor of a citizen who accused the company of promoting obscenity.
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“The ban on TikTok takes effect today (Thursday),” a company representative told AFP. Users confirmed that they no longer had access to their account and could not see the short videos that made this app one of the most popular in Pakistan.
“It’s absurd,” responded one of them, Imdad Kazmi, who studies communication at a public university. “It affects thousands of people who promote products, fashion and other goods (with the app). This ban is absolutely not a solution. “
TikTok, owned by the Chinese group ByteDance, has already been banned twice in Pakistan for content deemed “indecent”, the last time in March. The company then undertook to better moderate its content.
She announced on Wednesday that she had deleted more than six million videos in three months in Pakistan, to avoid a permanent ban in this deeply conservative country.
About 15% of the removed videos were for “adult nudity and sexual activity”.
A spokesperson said the videos made in Pakistan were taken down following requests from users or the government.
In this Muslim country, it is taboo, for example, to broadcast videos in which the protagonists’ clothes show too much skin.
Earlier this month, small anti-TikTok rallies were held to denounce the spread of gay content.
“We have increased our local language moderation capacity in Pakistan and are working diligently to review and take action for content that violates our community’s recommendations,” TikTok said in a statement Thursday.
The court said the ban would remain in effect until a new hearing on the case on July 8.
Free speech advocates have long criticized the Pakistani government’s rampant censorship and control of the internet and media.
Dating apps have been blocked, and Pakistani regulators last year asked YouTube to immediately block access to all videos they deemed “objectionable” in the country.
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