TikTok is now banned in Nepal.
The Government of Nepal on Monday announced an immediate ban on the popular social media app, saying it was disrupting “social harmony,” the Associated Press reported. The announcement comes just days after authorities issued a 19-point directive tightening content regulation on all social media sites.
Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said the app would be banned immediately.
“The government has decided to ban TikTok as it was necessary to regulate the use of the social media platform that was disrupting social harmony, goodwill and flow of indecent materials,” Saud said, according to AP.
The foreign minister said that to improve the accountability of social media platforms, the government has asked the companies to register and open a liaison office in Nepal, pay taxes and abide by the country’s laws and regulations.
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‘Encourages hate speech’
Rekha Sharma, the country’s minister for communications and information technology, who announced the ban said that TikTok was disrupting “our social harmony, family structure and family relations,” reported the New York Times.
More than 2.2 million users are active on TikTok in Nepal, according to the NYT.
The Nepali government said that the ban is being introduced after a large number of people complained that TikTok encourages hate speech, reported The Kathmandu Times. Approximately 1,647 cases of cybercrime were reported on the video sharing app, said the Nepal-based media outlet.
Government officials said that the ban was only introduced after TikTok paid no heed to concerns about troubling content, even after the government reached out multiple times, according to the NYT.
The government said that the decision to regulate social media was made after people complained that the absence of companies’ representatives in Nepal made it challenging for authorities to address user concerns and remove objectionable content from the platforms, according to The Kathmandu Times.
Concerns about app
Chinese-owned TikTok has faced scrutiny in a number of countries, including the United States and Canada, because of concerns that Beijing could use the app to extract sensitive user data to advance its interests. It was also among dozens of Chinese apps neighboring India banned in 2020, following a military standoff between the two Himalayan countries that remains unresolved.
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Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nepal bans TikTok over ‘disrupting social harmony’