Pakistan has banned live streaming application Bigo and issued a final warning to China-based video-sharing service TikTok over “obscene and immoral” content on these platforms.
In a statement, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said that numerous complaints were received from different segments of society against immoral, obscene and vulgar content on social media applications particularly TikTok and Bigo.
“PTA had issued necessary notices to the aforementioned social media companies under law to moderate the socialisation and content within legal and moral limits, in accordance with the laws of the country,” the statement from Pakistan’s telecom regulator said.
The PTA said the response of these companies was “not satisfactory”.
A civil miscellaneous application was filed in the Lahore High Court earlier this month demanding an immediate ban on TikTok. The petitioner said that the app was a “great mischief of modern times” and had become a source of spreading pornography for the sake of fame and ratings on social media.
The country’s digital rights groups, however, said that they will challenge the ban as there is no legal basis for it.
TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, is already currently facing problems with authorities in a number of countries including in Australia, India, and the United States due to security and privacy issues.
Both TikTok and Singapore-based Bigo Technology, which owns the live video streaming app Bigo Live, have not made any public comment regarding Pakistan’s move.
TikTok is one of the world’s most popular social media apps, with over 2 billion downloads globally.
In Pakistan, it has been downloaded almost 39 million times and is the third-most downloaded app over the past year after WhatsApp and Facebook, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Bigo Live has been downloaded over 17 million times in Pakistan and is the 19th most downloaded app in the country.
In July, the PTA had banned PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) platform, with over 16 million users in Pakistan, because it had received complaints “that the game is addictive, wastage of time and poses serious negative impact on physical and psychological health of the children.”