Another month, another country bans TikTok - this time Nepal

TASNIM LOKMAN
TASNIM LOKMAN
16 Nov 2023 01:07pm
This photograph taken in Mulhouse, eastern France on Oct 19, 2023, shows figurines next to the logo of the social media video sharing app Tik Tok reflected in mirrors. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)
This photograph taken in Mulhouse, eastern France on Oct 19, 2023, shows figurines next to the logo of the social media video sharing app Tik Tok reflected in mirrors. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)
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Nepal has officially banned TikTok, citing concerns that the popular Chinese app's content is "detrimental to social harmony." The move comes shortly after Nepal implemented a new regulation requiring social media companies to establish liaison offices within the country.

Nepal's Communications and Information Technology Minister Rekha Sharma was quoted by BBC Nepali that TikTok had been spreading malicious content, leading to the immediate enforcement of the ban. Telecom authorities had also been instructed to implement the decision promptly.

However, senior leader of the Nepali Congress Gagan Thapa, who was also part of the coalition government, criticised the move, suggesting it infringes on freedom of expression. He recommended focusing on regulation rather than an outright ban.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has faced global scrutiny over concerns that user data could be shared with the Chinese government. ByteDance has consistently denied these allegations.

Despite still considered “behind” platforms like Facebook and Instagram in overall user numbers, TikTok's exceptional growth among young audiences has made it a subject of regulatory scrutiny worldwide. Nepal has registered over 1,600 TikTok-related cybercrime cases in the past four years, according to local media reports.

Nepal is not the first country to ban TikTok, which boasts to have approximately one billion monthly users. Here’s a list of countries and places it has been banned since its inception:

Afghanistan: The Taliban banned TikTok in April 2022, citing that the platform's content was not consistent with Islamic laws.

Australia: The app was banned from all federal government-owned devices in April 2023, citing security concerns raised by the Department of Home Affairs.

Belgium: The app was temporarily banned from devices owned or paid for by the federal government for six months, citing worries about cybersecurity, privacy, and misinformation.

Canada: The app was banned from government-issued mobile devices in March 2023 due to privacy and security concerns.

Denmark: The app was banned from government-issued mobile devices in August 2023 due to security concerns.

India: The app was banned nationwide in 2020, along with 58 other Chinese apps, for engaging in activities that were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state, and public order. India is the largest country to place a blanket ban on the app.

The Netherlands: The app was banned from government-issued mobile devices in 2023 due to security concerns.

New Zealand: The app was banned from government-issued mobile devices in August 2023 due to security concerns.

United Kingdom: UK banned TikTok on government phones on March 16, 2023, with immediate effect after a security review into the potential vulnerability of sensitive data on several social media applications.

United States: TikTok is banned on government devices used by the military, but the ban does not extend to personal devices. In addition, several states have banned the app on government-issued devices since November 2022 with Montana becoming the first state to ban TikTok from operating inside the state in May 2023, and New York City banned TikTok from city-owned devices in August 2023

It is worth noting that some countries have only banned the app from government-issued mobile devices, while others have implemented a nationwide ban.

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