Pakistan lifts ban on TikTok

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said on Monday it has lifted the ban on TikTok, 11 days after the South Asian nation’s telecom authority blocked the popular short video app in the country over problematic videos on the platform. The authority, however, warned that TikTok needs to actively moderate content on its app or else it will be permanently blocked in the nation.

The telecom authority said it was lifting the ban after engaging with TikTok’s senior management, which assured it would moderate content in accordance with “societal norms and the laws of Pakistan.” TikTok has about 20 million monthly active users in Pakistan, the authority said.

TikTok’s senior management team has also ensured that it will block users who show a repeated pattern of uploading “unlawful” content, the telecom authority said in a statement.

“The restoration of TikTok is strictly subject to the condition that the platform will not be used for the spread of vulgarity/indecent content & societal values will not be abused. PTA will be constrained to permanently block the application incase said condition is not fulfilled,” the authority warned.

Pakistan banned TikTok in the nation earlier this month and also after issuing a “final” warning to the app in July. In its warning, Pakistan had expressed serious concerns over some videos that were circulating on the platform. The nation said some videos were “immoral,” “obscene” and “vulgar.”

After the ban, TikTok had assured that it would work harder to moderate content and also offered to invest in the country if the ban were to be lifted.

The ban had also raised concerns with some (via Techmeme), who cautioned that the move was Pakistan’s ongoing attempt to enforce a top down censorship in the nation. Earlier this year, Pakistan unveiled some of the world’s most sweeping rules on internet censorship that would have severely impacted American tech firms operating in the nation. But it later retreated the rules after Facebook, Google and Twitter among other firms threatened to leave the nation.

Neighboring nation India has also banned TikTok, among hundreds of other Chinese apps. In case of India, the ban has been enforced over cybersecurity concerns. Prior to the ban, India was TikTok’s biggest market by users outside of China.

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