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Analysis: Pakistan's TikTok ban is about censorship, not China

October 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

BRAZIL - 2020/09/25: In this photo illustration the TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Pakistan is taking a cue from its close ally China on internet censorship by banning, of all things, a Chinese social media app.

Hong Kong (CNN Business)Pakistan is taking a cue from its close ally China on internet censorship by banning, of all things, a Chinese social media app.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on Friday said it would block the short-form video app TikTok because of complaints "from different segments of the society against immoral/indecent content. " The authority said that TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has not created a satisfactory way to block offensive content following a warning to get its house in order in July.

In January, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority declared it was "committed to protecting the public from harmful and unlawful content present on the internet such as blasphemy, hate speech, violence & extremism, and pornography. " Earlier this year, the government unveiled sweeping rules on internet censorship that would give regulators power to demand social media platforms remove a range of content.

Khan, who has been following TikTok's rise in Pakistan, said that the voices of poor Pakistanis who were not well-represented on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter flocked to TikTok.

In blocking TikTok, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority did not specify which content triggered "a number of complaints from different segments of the society. " The authority said, though, that the decision could be revisited if TikTok regulates "unlawful" content.

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