In a recent development reported by the Kathmandu Post, the government has resolved to impose a ban on TikTok. The decision was made during a Cabinet meeting held on Monday, citing the app’s adverse impact on social harmony. The specific date for the implementation of this ban is yet to be determined. It should be noted that the short video-sharing app had already been banned by India back in 2020.
India implemented a countrywide prohibition on various Chinese applications, including the widely popular TikTok and the messaging platform WeChat. This decisive action was taken in response to apprehensions surrounding privacy and security issues associated with these apps. The ban was instituted shortly after a violent altercation at a contested Himalayan border resulted in the tragic loss of 20 Indian soldiers’ lives and left numerous others injured in the clash between Indian and Chinese troops.
While acknowledging the fundamental right to freedom of expression, the Nepalese government expressed concerns over TikTok’s alleged promotion of hate speech, leading to widespread criticism from a significant segment of society, as per Kathmandu Post. Over the past four years, the video-sharing platform has reportedly seen 1,647 reported cases of cybercrime.
Discussions on the matter took place last week between the Cyber Bureau of the Nepal Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and representatives from TikTok. The decision made on Monday is expected to be enacted once technical preparations are concluded.
This recent ban follows closely on the heels of the government’s introduction of the ‘Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023.’ According to the new regulations, social media platforms operating in Nepal are now required to establish offices within the country.
In a Cabinet meeting held last Thursday, it was mandated that social media giants like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and YouTube must open liaison offices in Nepal. The government cited the necessity of having representatives in Nepal to address user concerns and promptly handle objectionable content.
Companies operating these platforms must establish an office or designate a focal person in Nepal within three months of the directive’s enforcement. Additionally, they are required to register their social media platforms with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, with non-compliance risking platform shutdowns.
The directives also outline a 19-point not-to-do list for users on platforms such as Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.