A new ban for the Chinese social network. On November 13, Nepal, a small country stuck between the Indian and Chinese giants, decided to ban TikTok, a short video sharing application. For what ? Because its content would be detrimental to the “social harmony” of the nation, asserted the Nepalese government. The content published on the platform in fact fuels “religious hatred and violence” while encouraging “sexual abuse”.
According to the authorities, this would even lead to real clashes. Conflicts “between Hindus, Muslims and certain indigenous communities over the slaughter of cows, considered sacred by a large number of Hindus” are said to have started online before turning into real clashes. This would have even pushed the authorities to establish curfews and deploy the police, reports Le Courrier international.
The application would also disrupt “family structures and social relations”, asserted the Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, Rekha Sharma. According to local media, more than 1,600 cases of cybercrime linked to TikTok have also been recorded over the last four years, reports the BBC.
A set of problems highlighted by the Nepalese authorities who therefore took the decision to “immediately” ban the application, following a government decision. And this measure comes only a few days after the new rule requiring social networks to establish “liaison offices” in the country.
The decision did not fail to cause some commotion in the small Asian country. The leader of the Nepalese Congress, Gagan Thapa, who is also part of the coalition government, notably denounced an “attempt to restrict freedom of expression”. Especially since, according to the BBC Media Action report on media use in Nepal, TikTok was the third most used social network in the country. Particularly among the youngest (16-24 years old), almost 81% of whom used it regularly.
However, Nepal is not the first country to have made this radical choice. Many nations are concerned about the processing of the personal data of their nationals by the Chinese application. Thus, in 2020, India decided to ban it, in addition to ten others. According to the Indian government, these compromised national sovereignty, security and integrity. Montana followed the same path in May 2023, becoming the first American state to make this decision.
Without completely banning the application, other countries have also decided to reduce access to it. The British Parliament notably voted for a provision last March to prohibit access to this application on government devices, citing security reasons. Pakistan, for its part, has temporarily banned it at least four times since October 2020 while Canada and the European Union have placed it under surveillance.