The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority banned live streaming app Bigo and issued a "final warning" against TikTok citing complaints of "immoral, obscene and vulgar content" on the apps. File Photo by antonbe/Pixabay
July 21 (UPI) -- Pakistan banned live streaming platform Bigo and issued a "final warning" to social media service TikTok, citing "immoral, obscene and vulgar content" on the apps.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority on Monday said it had raised allegations with Bigo Technologies and Byte Dance, the companies that own the apps, after receiving complaints about the nature of videos that circulate on the service but their responses were deemed "not satisfactory."
"Therefore ... PTA has decided to immediately block Bigo and issue final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality through its social media application," the agency said.
Rights groups said Pakistan has blocked more than 800,000 websites and platforms from being accessed in the country since it passed the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act in 2016, allowing the PTA to block content considered to be against "the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or ... public order, decency or morality."
A ByteDance representative told TechCrunch that the company deploys a combination of technologies and moderation strategies to review content on TikTok and removed 3,728,162 user videos from Pakistan from the service.
"We are committed to further strengthening our safeguards to ensure the safety of our users, while increasing our dialogue with the authorities to explain our policies and demonstrate our dedication to user security," the representative said.
The decision comes after India blocked Internet access to 59 apps originating in China, including TikTok, WeChat and other similar entertainment and messaging apps last month, citing cybersecurity concerns.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said earlier this month that the United States would work to prevent China from using telecommunications networks to access the private data of American citizens, including considering banning TikTok.