China’s ‘all-weather’ ally Pakistan has given a huge setback to Beijing’s business ambition of Chinese tech firms in the country. According to media reports, Islamabad has blocked the Bigo Live streaming application and issued a “final warning” to video-sharing app TikTok over “obscene and immoral” content on these Chinese platforms.
Pakistan issues ‘final warning’ to TikTok
China has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan in recent times and this move by Pakistan comes at a time when Chinese apps are under scrutiny globally. However, Pakistan is not worried about the security threats these apps pose but instead is worried that the content on these applications is ‘objectionable’ that influences youths negatively.
On July 2, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), in a statement, said that it has received numerous complaints from different segments of society against immoral, obscene and vulgar content on social media applications particularly TikTok and Bigo and their extremely negative effects on the society in general and youth in particular.
In its order, the PTA said, “In the exercise of its powers under PECA, PTA has decided to immediately block Bigo and issue a final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality through its social media application.”
Press Release: Number of complaints had been received from different segments of the society against immoral, obscene & vulgar content on social media applications particularly Tik Tok and Bigo, & their extremely negative effects on the society in general & youth in particular. pic.twitter.com/Zow1EuLj4N
— PTA (@PTAofficialpk) July 20, 2020
‘Great mischief of modern times’
Both TikTok, a video-sharing app owned by Beijing tech giant ByteDance, and Bigo Live, a live streaming platform owned by a Singapore company, are popular among Pakistani teens and young adults. A tweet on Monday from the regulating authority said it had complained to the companies behind the platforms but that the response of these companies has not been satisfactory.
An application was filed in Lahore High Court earlier this month demanding an immediate ban on TikTok. The petitioner said that the app was “great mischief of modern times” and had become a source of spreading pornography for the sake of fame and ratings on social media.
According to ANI, a resolution was also submitted in the Punjab Assembly on July 6, calling for a ban on TikTok in Pakistan. There is also a petition doing the rounds on change.org, calling for its ban. “The app should be banned in Pakistan because it shows very inappropriate videos to children and could give them the wrong idea when it comes to consent and respect towards women and other races,” the petition addressed to the government of Pakistan says.
In Pakistan, TikTok has been downloaded almost 39 million times and is the third-most downloaded app over the past year after WhatsApp and Facebook. Registered in Singapore and owned by Chinese company YY Inc, which owns the live video streaming app Bigo Live has been downloaded over 17 million times in Pakistan and is the 19th most downloaded app in the country. Earlier in the month, Pakistan has banned the hugely popular online game, PUBG, linked to China.
Over the years, Pakistan has forwarded hundreds of complaints to Facebook and Twitter about content, alleging it is offensive and potentially insulting to Islam, which goes against Pakistani law
(With agency inputs)