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Pakistan bans one Chinese app and gives TikTok a final warning to clean up its act

Objects to obscene content, not data leakage

Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority has banned one Chinese-owned social video-streaming app Bigo and given TikTok a final warning that it needs to get its house in order or also face expulsion.

The Authority’s (PTA’s) beef with the apps is not security-related, despite the TikTok mobile apps twice being observed reading from mobile devices’ clipboards.

Pakistan’s problem is that both apps are sources of salacious content. Or as the PTA put it: “immoral, obscene and vulgar content.”

The Authority said it let both apps’ makers know they have legal obligations “to moderate the socialization and content within legal and moral limits” but found “the response of these companies has not been satisfactory.”

It’s therefore “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.”

Pakistan’s penal code prohibits “obscene” material and performances and its constitution says citizens should be enabled to live their lives in accordance with Islamic law. Those regulations have previously seen Pakistan block YouTube for carrying the controversial video “Innocence of Muslims”.

The ban on Bigo and warning to TikTok is related to content involving nudity, rather than religious material. Bigo is Chinese-owned, but was acquired from its Singapore-based creator. TikTok is Chinese through and thourgh.

Pakistan’s actions come after India banned 59 Chinese apps, seemingly as part of its response to border skirmishes and as part of its new self-reliance policy that covers everything from software to coal. ®

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