- author, Mariko hello
- scroll, BBC Business Correspondent
Nepal banned Chinese app TikTok because the social network’s content was “harmful to social harmony.”
The decision comes days after the country approved a new rule requiring social media companies to establish offices in the country.
TikTok, which has about 1 billion monthly users, has been banned by several countries, including India.
Earlier this year, Montana became the first US state to ban it, while the UK Parliament banned it from its network.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Rekha Sharma told BBC Nepal, the BBC service in Nepal, that the platform had published inappropriate content.
She added, “The ban will go into effect immediately. Telecommunications authorities have been instructed to respect it.”
But Jagan Thapa, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress Party, which is part of the coalition government, questioned the government’s decision to impose a ban on TikTok.
He said that this is an attempt to restrict freedom of expression and the authorities should focus on regulating the platform.
TikTok has come under scrutiny by authorities around the world over concerns that user data could be transferred to the Chinese government.
The parent company, ByteDance, has already rejected this claim. TikTok did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on the recent ban imposed by the Nepalese government.
More than 1,600 TikTok-related cybercrime cases have been recorded over the past four years in Nepal, according to local media reports.
According to a BBC Media Action report on network usage in Nepal, TikTok is the third most used platform nationally.
While YouTube and Facebook are popular among internet users of all age groups, TikTok is very popular among younger age groups, with more than 80% of users between the ages of 16 and 24 using the platform.
Pakistan has temporarily blocked the app at least four times since October 2020, while the online shopping service on the platform was shut down in Indonesia last month.
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