Nepal Bans TikTok Over Harm To ‘Social Harmony’

Nepal bans TikTok, citing disruption to ‘social harmony’ and ‘social relations’, as other countries ban app on security grounds

Nepal has banned China’s TikTok, saying that it had a disruptive effect on “social harmony”.

The app has been completely or partially banned in a number of countries, but in most cases those authorities have cited security concerns.

The UK Parliament has banned the app from its network and several US states, beginning with Montana, have restricted government employees from using it on government-issued devices over concerns data collected by the app could be accessed by the Chinese government.

The app and its parent company ByteDance have denied such allegations.

India also banned TikTok along with other Chinese apps in 2020 amidst a border dispute with China.

TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew. Image credit: TikTok
TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew. Image credit: TikTok

‘Social harmony’

Nepal’s ban comes only a few days after the country brought in a new requirement that social media firms set up local offices.

Minister for communications and information technology Rekha Sharma said the decision had been made at a cabinet meeting on Monday and that internet service providers were implementing the necessary technical measures.

She said the app had been used consistently to share content that “disturbs social harmony and disrupts family structures and social relations”.

Gagan Thapa, a senior leader of Nepali Congress, part of the ruling coalition, criticised the move, saying it appeared to be designed to stifle freedom of expression.

ByteDance, TikTok
TikTok owner ByteDance. Image credit: ByteDance

Younger users

Authorities should instead focus on regulating the platform, he said.

TikTok has previously called such bans “misguided”.

More than 1,600 TikTok-related cyber crime cases have been registered in Nepal in the last four years, according to local media reports.

TikTok is the third most used social media platform in Nepal, according to a BBC Media Action report, and is the sixth most used worldwide, according to social media marketing agency We Are Social.

Meta Platforms operates the most popular services with Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, but TikTok has much faster growth amongst young people.