File photo: A woman watches a video of Egyptian influencer Haneen Hossam, who was sentenced to two years in jail on charges of violation public morals, on the video-sharing app TikTok in Egypt’s capital Cairo on July 28, 2020. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
The popular TikTok video-sharing app was blocked Wednesday in Pakistan for a fourth time because of “inappropriate content”, the country’s telecommunication regulator said.
The Chinese-owned site has fought a series of legal battles with religious activists and authorities in the conservative Muslim nation, and was shut down for two days earlier this month on the order of a provincial court.
Freedom of speech advocates have long criticised creeping government censorship and control of Pakistan’s internet and media.
“The action has been taken due to continuous presence of inappropriate content on the platform and its failure to take such content down,” the telecoms authority said in a statement.
This photo, taken on July 2, 2021, shows the TikTok logo displayed on a mobile phone screen. Taiwo Adeshina/Channels Television.
A local TikTok representative did not immediately comment.
The app has a huge fan base in Pakistan, where many people use it to market and sell goods online.
But its critics in the deeply conservative Muslim nation say it promotes vulgarity and LGBTQ content.
In June, TikTok said it had removed more than six million videos available to Pakistan users in just three months following complaints from officials and ordinary users.
Around 15 percent of the videos removed were taken down because of “adult nudity and sexual activities”, the company said.
Officials have previously asked YouTube to block content they deem objectionable, and several dating apps are prohibited.