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TikTok to enforce Pakistan government’s guidelines

It will prevent online bullying, suicide alerts

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Artwork by SAMAA Digital

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TikTok, a video-sharing application, has launched an Urdu-language safety centre in Pakistan to ensure videos posted on the app are in check with the government's guidelines. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has banned TikTok four times on complaints of "immoral, indecent, and inappropriate" content. A statement issued by the application on Saturday revealed that the safety centre is a one-stop online source that will introduce tools for users enabling them to edit and cut content that is in line with the government's instructions. "It is important for the platform to provide a safe space where users can turn their ideas into reality and express themselves freely." TikTok has updated its information portal as well which has now been divided into sections such as child protection, parental guidelines, protection against bullies, and suicide alerts. Here are some of its sections: Safety and Privacy Controls: It will teach users how to set up their accounts so that they can feel comfortable and secure on the platform. It will also allow them to limit the list of people who can leave comments on their videos, shoot duets or send messages. Guide: It enables users to learn about TikTok's policies regarding safety, privacy, and protection. It also includes details about the range of choices and settings offered by the application Topic: This section is dedicated to deal with bullying. A team moderating content on the app will respond to comments intended to bully users. It has a "Suicide and Self-harm" subsection that will prevent suicidal content. “TikTok collaborates with industry experts and organisations around the world to seek their guidance in developing new products and policies and leveraging expertise to educate audiences.” the statement added. TikTok's history in Pakistan Pakistan blocked the video-sharing app blocked for the first time on October 9, 2020, over “obscene and immoral” content. The PTA said it had issued a final notice to the app and gave considerable time to respond and develop and an effective mechanism for ‘proactive moderation of unlawful online content.’ The app, however, failed to fully comply with the authority's instructions. Related: TikTok ban divides Pakistanis After 10 days, the ban was reversed. A PTA spokesperson said the management of TikTok has assured the authority that it will moderate content according to the Pakistani law and block accounts involved in spreading obscenity and immorality. On March 11, the app was blocked again. This time, the decision was taken by the Peshawar High Court. The reason, again, was immoral content. “In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok App,” the PTA said in a Twitter post. In his short order, PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan told authorities that the ban should not be revoked until objectionable content is removed. The ban was reversed after three weeks. The app was blocked for the fourth time on orders of the Sindh High Court on June 28 over “immoral” and “objectionable” content. The ban was reversed after four days after PTA assured the content will be monitored. TikTok has removed over six million videos in Pakistan due to nude and sexual content, from January till March this year, it announced. The exact number of videos removed from January till March was 6,495,992. Pakistan is second on the list behind the US where 8,540,088 videos were removed.
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TikTok, a video-sharing application, has launched an Urdu-language safety centre in Pakistan to ensure videos posted on the app are in check with the government’s guidelines.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has banned TikTok four times on complaints of “immoral, indecent, and inappropriate” content.

A statement issued by the application on Saturday revealed that the safety centre is a one-stop online source that will introduce tools for users enabling them to edit and cut content that is in line with the government’s instructions.

“It is important for the platform to provide a safe space where users can turn their ideas into reality and express themselves freely.”

TikTok has updated its information portal as well which has now been divided into sections such as child protection, parental guidelines, protection against bullies, and suicide alerts.

Here are some of its sections:

  • Safety and Privacy Controls: It will teach users how to set up their accounts so that they can feel comfortable and secure on the platform. It will also allow them to limit the list of people who can leave comments on their videos, shoot duets or send messages.
  • Guide: It enables users to learn about TikTok’s policies regarding safety, privacy, and protection. It also includes details about the range of choices and settings offered by the application
  • Topic: This section is dedicated to deal with bullying. A team moderating content on the app will respond to comments intended to bully users. It has a “Suicide and Self-harm” subsection that will prevent suicidal content.

“TikTok collaborates with industry experts and organisations around the world to seek their guidance in developing new products and policies and leveraging expertise to educate audiences.” the statement added.

TikTok’s history in Pakistan

Pakistan blocked the video-sharing app blocked for the first time on October 9, 2020, over “obscene and immoral” content. The PTA said it had issued a final notice to the app and gave considerable time to respond and develop and an effective mechanism for ‘proactive moderation of unlawful online content.’ The app, however, failed to fully comply with the authority’s instructions.

Related: TikTok ban divides Pakistanis

After 10 days, the ban was reversed. A PTA spokesperson said the management of TikTok has assured the authority that it will moderate content according to the Pakistani law and block accounts involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.

On March 11, the app was blocked again. This time, the decision was taken by the Peshawar High Court. The reason, again, was immoral content.

“In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok App,” the PTA said in a Twitter post.

In his short order, PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan told authorities that the ban should not be revoked until objectionable content is removed.

The ban was reversed after three weeks.

The app was blocked for the fourth time on orders of the Sindh High Court on June 28 over “immoral” and “objectionable” content. The ban was reversed after four days after PTA assured the content will be monitored.

TikTok has removed over six million videos in Pakistan due to nude and sexual content, from January till March this year, it announced.

The exact number of videos removed from January till March was 6,495,992. Pakistan is second on the list behind the US where 8,540,088 videos were removed.

 
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