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Once again, Pakistan overturns ban on TikTok following promises to control obscene content

Complaints about ‘indecent’ and ‘immoral’ content on TikTok has spelt turbulent times for the platform in Pakistan.

After nearly 4 months of continuous blocking, the longest yet, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced that it has restored TikTok's services in the country on November 19. The short-video platform has faced multiple short-term bans imposed by the PTA which said that it has received assurances from TikTok to "control unlawful content in accordance with local laws and societal norms".  "The company also assured that the users who are continuously involved in uploading unlawful content will be blocked from using the platform. Keeping in view the assurances, the Authority has decided to lift the ban on TikTok forthwith," the PTA tweeted. However, it also added that it will continue to monitor the platform. In September, TikTok had reportedly set up a 24x7 team of moderators to filter ‘vulgar’ content in line with Pakistani laws and norms. From allegations that TikTok's algorithm conducts inherent censorship to promotion of child pornography, TikTok has been in hot water for its content moderation practices in various countries. Pakistan's history with TikTok indicates why social media platforms are grappling to handle sexually explicit content. Previous action faced by TikTok in Pakistan In July 2020, TikTok was issued a 'final warning' by the PTA after it received complaints that the platform hosted immoral content. In October 2020, the PTA had blocked TikTok for 10 days for allowing “obscene” and “immoral” content. The ban was overturned after similar assurances were made by TikTok. In March 2021, the Peshawar High Court reportedly said that the app violated the country's "constitutional provision ensuring…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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