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Nepal to ban TikTok citing disruption to social harmony

TikTok displayed on a smartphone with TikTok Icon seen in the background.Getty Images

Nepal has said it will ban China’s TikTok because its content has disrupted social harmony.

The decision comes days after the country introduced a new rule requiring social media firms to set up liaison offices in the country.

TikTok, which has around a billion monthly users, has been banned by several counties including India.

Nepal’s Telecom Authority Chair Purushottam Khanal told Reuters news agency that internet service providers had been asked to close the app.

No date was given for when the ban would take effect. Local media are also reporting that there is some opposition to the decision that was made at a cabinet meeting earlier this week.

TikTok has come under scrutiny from authorities around the world over concerns that data could be passed to the Chinese government.

Its parent company, ByteDance, has previously rejected the allegation. TikTok did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on the latest ban by the government in Nepal.

Although TikTok lags behind the likes of Facebook and Instagram, its growth among young people far outstrips its competitors.

More than 1,600 TikTok-related cyber crime cases have been registered over the last four years in Nepal, according to local media reports.

According to the BBC Media Action report on the media usage in Nepal, TikTok is the third most used platform nationally.

While YouTube and Facebook are popular among internet users of all age groups, TikTok is highly popular with younger age groups with more than 80% of social media users aged between 16 and 24 using the platform.

Pakistan has temporarily banned the app at least four times since October 2020 while its online shopping service was shut in Indonesia last month.

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