Nepal bans TikTok and says it disrupts social harmony

The government of Nepal has decided to outlaw the well-known social media app TikTok, a move that shocked many as they believed it was upsetting the “social harmony” of the nation. Following a Cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud declared that the ban would take effect right away. This article examines the rationale behind the prohibition, the government’s requests for social media companies to provide information, and the possible outcomes of this action.

FILE - A view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 28, 2020. The European Union ratcheted up its scrutiny of Big Tech companies on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, with demands for Meta and TikTok to detail their efforts on curbing illegal content and disinformation amid the Israel-Hamas war. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Credits: AP News

Government’s Justification

The Nepalese government justified the move to outlaw TikTok as a way to control social media usage, citing worries about the platform’s effects on goodwill, social cohesion, and the dissemination of offensive content. The government acknowledged the necessity for greater control over these platforms in order to preserve a supportive and cohesive social climate, even though the precise instances that led to the ban were not made explicit.

Social Media Regulation Demands

Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud revealed that to hold social media platforms accountable, the government has urged companies to register and establish a liaison office in Nepal. Additionally, companies are required to fulfill tax obligations and adhere to the country’s laws and regulations. This move is seen as an attempt to bring more oversight and control over the activities of these platforms within Nepal’s borders.

TikTok’s Response (or Lack Thereof)

The story emphasizes how it’s still unclear whether TikTok banned users because of specific incidents or because the platform had refused to abide by Nepal’s instructions. Regarding its future interactions with Nepalese authorities and its users there, the business did not immediately respond to the government’s decision.

TikTok, which is controlled by ByteDance in China, has come under fire in a number of nations over worries about data privacy and its possible exploitation by Beijing as a tool. Suspicions remain despite TikTok’s repeated assertions that it shares user data with the Chinese government, and as a result, governments in the US, UK, and NZ have banned the app. The number of nations imposing restrictions on the app is increasing with the addition of Nepal to the list.

Global Scrutiny on TikTok

The article delves into the global context of TikTok’s challenges, emphasizing that the app’s ownership by a Chinese company has sparked widespread scrutiny. Many governments fear that Beijing could use TikTok to harvest user data or advance its interests, prompting stringent measures. The United States, for instance, has banned TikTok on government phones, even as the company insists on its commitment to data privacy.

Impact on TikTok Users in Nepal

The ban on TikTok will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the app’s user base in Nepal. With millions of users, TikTok has become a cultural phenomenon, allowing people to express themselves creatively and engage with a global audience. The sudden ban raises questions about the fate of content creators, influencers, and ordinary users who have embraced the platform as part of their daily lives.

Economic Implications for ByteDance

This section explores the potential economic implications for ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. The ban in Nepal adds to a series of setbacks for the Chinese tech giant, affecting its user base and revenue streams. The company may face challenges in maintaining its global dominance in the face of increasing governmental restrictions and growing competition from other social media platforms.

Government’s Previous Measures

The article briefly mentions Nepal’s previous ban on all pornographic sites in 2018, providing context to the government’s stance on online content regulation. This historical perspective helps readers understand the broader framework within which the TikTok ban fits and highlights the government’s ongoing efforts to regulate online content.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Nepal’s decision to ban TikTok reflects the government’s concerns about the impact of social media on social harmony. The move is part of a global trend of increased scrutiny and regulation of platforms like TikTok, especially those owned by Chinese companies. The article outlines the government’s demands for accountability, TikTok’s potential economic challenges, and the implications for its users in Nepal. As the ban takes effect, the future of TikTok in Nepal remains uncertain, leaving users and stakeholders awaiting further developments in this evolving digital landscape.


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