Nepal to Prohibit TikTok Due to Disruption of ‘Social Harmony’, Officials Say

Nepal Bans TikTok, Citing Social Harmony Concerns

Nepal has announced a ban on the popular video-sharing app TikTok, citing concerns that the platform has been used to spread content that affects “social harmony.” The move comes as international scrutiny of the Chinese-owned app continues to grow over security and data concerns.

The decision to remove TikTok from Nepali phones was made during a Nov. 13 cabinet meeting, Nepal’s communications and information technology minister, Rekha Sharma, confirmed.

TikTok’s adverse social effects and hate speech were cited as major concerns. Sharma stated that the social media platform “disturbs social harmony and disrupts family structures and social relations.” According to a local newspaper, The Kathmandu Post, more than 1,600 cybercrime cases related to TikTok were registered in the past four years.

The ban is set to be implemented once authorities complete the necessary technical preparations. Nepal Telecom Authority Chair Purushottam Khanal said that internet service providers have been instructed to close the app.

The move to ban TikTok in Nepal comes amidst escalating efforts by regulators worldwide to restrict access to the video app, which is owned by the Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance and has been the subject of numerous national security concerns.

The United States, Canada, and the European Union have all taken action against TikTok, with federal agencies in the U.S. ordered to delete the app from government devices. Lawmakers in Washington have expressed concerns about the app’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party, with allegations that the company could provide American user data to Chinese authorities.

In addition to concerns over data security, officials have pointed to the possibility of the CCP using personal data harvested from Americans through TikTok for espionage operations or propaganda efforts. As a result, there have been calls for a federal ban on the app in the U.S.

Montana has already become the first U.S. state to impose a complete ban on TikTok, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The state enacted legislation to prevent the app from operating within its borders, citing concerns about its ties to U.S. adversaries and the need to protect residents’ privacy.

In other parts of the world, India imposed a nationwide ban on TikTok in 2020, along with dozens of other Chinese apps, following a deadly border clash. The Indian government cited the apps as “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state, and public order.”

As the legal and regulatory challenges facing TikTok continue to mount, the app’s future in many countries remains uncertain. For its part, TikTok has consistently denied allegations of data security breaches and inappropriate ties to the Chinese government.

The ban on TikTok in Nepal represents another significant development in the global effort to address concerns over the app’s impact on security and social harmony.

With reporting from Reuters.

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