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Pakistan bans TikTok again for failure to filter 'immoral' content

Published July 21,2021
Pakistan's telecoms regulator said Wednesday it was banning TikTok for the third time in less than a year.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a statement the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform failed to implement an earlier order to filter "immoral and obscene" content and take down inappropriate content.

The authority said it had warned TikTok to filter such content but the application had failed to abide by the instructions.

Pakistan first banned the app last year in compliance with a court order in response to public complaints of alleged vulgarity on the app.

The ban was later lifted after reported diplomatic interference by the Chinese government and an assurance by the platform to filter its content.

Pakistan also banned live-streaming app Bigo Live last year for the same reasons and issued a warning to YouTube saying it must block "vulgarity and hate speech" for viewers in the country.

Dating app Tinder has also been blocked.

Some activists see the moves as attempts to muzzle online criticism of the country's powerful military.

YouTube had to introduce a localized version of its platform in Pakistan after a ban for several months in 2012 following protests against a film deemed insulting to the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Censorship has increased since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in 2018. The elections that brought Khan into office were tainted by allegations of army interference.