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PTA Unbans TikTok

by Newsweek Pakistan

Joel Saget—AFP

Chinese mobile app allowed to resume services on condition it will moderate all content in accordance with local laws

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday announced that it was restoring public access to Chinese video-sharing app TikTok for its 43 million+ users in Pakistan.

“TikTok is being unlocked after assurance from management that they will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality,” read a post on Twitter. “TikTok will moderate the account in accordance with local laws,” the state-run regulatory watchdog added.

PTA has been trying to ban TikTok since early this year, claiming it is against public decency and permits the spreading of obscene and immoral content. In July, it issued a “final warning” to the company to implement mechanisms to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality shared via its platform. In response, TikTok had said it had removed nearly 4 million videos that were found to be in violation of Pakistani laws between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2019. It also stressed that it was committed to ensuring safety for all its users.

On Oct. 9, PTA banned TikTok, claiming it was acting on “complaints from different segments of society.” Following the ban, negotiations between TikTok and the PTA resumed, with the video-creation and sharing app pledging to ramp up moderation efforts and deploy dedicated resources for Pakistan.

“We continue to hope that our productive dialogue with the PTA can bring assurance of the government’s commitment to a stable, enabling environment whereby we can explore investing further in the market, including in the inspiring talent we’ve seen thrive on TikTok,” read a statement issued by TikTok.

The TikTok ban had attracted a lot of outrage, especially among lower-income groups, who have maintained that it is the sole entertainment outlet they have that doesn’t require any money or privileged access.

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