Tiktok users in Pakistan won't be able to access the app yet again after the Peshawar High Court issued an order to ban the short-form video sharing platform in the country. According to Al Jazeera, Ary News TV and other local news outlets, the court made the ruling during a hearing into a petition against the app. TikTok had around 33 million users in Pakistan (out of a total of 100 million users) as of last month, App Annie told TechCrunch. After receiving the order from the court, Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) published a statement on Twitter confirming that it has issued directions to service providers "to immediately block access to the TikTok App" in compliance. In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to the service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok App. During the hearing of a case today, the PHC has ordered for the blocking of App. — PTA (@PTAofficialpk) March 11, 2021 Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan said TikTok videos "are peddling vulgarity in society," Ary News TV wrote, and that the platform hosts unethical and immoral content. He also decided that the app should remain blocked until TikTok cooperates with authorities after PTA told the court that it approached the company to have "objectionable and indecent" content removed to no avail. In a statement sent to Al Jazeera, a spokesperson defended the platform and its moderation practices: "TikTok is built upon the foundation of creative expression, with strong safeguards in place to keep inappropriate content off the platform. In Pakistan we have grown our local-language moderation team, and have mechanisms to report and remove content in violation of our community guidelines. We look forward to continuing to serve the millions of TikTok users and creators in Pakistan who have found a home for creativity and fun." This isn't the first time the app was banned in the country, which recently rolled out digital laws that give regulators the power to censor content. As Financial Times notes, the new laws require companies to remove offensive content, including ones that threaten the "integrity, security and defense of Pakistan." The first time TikTok was banned was before the new laws came out, though, after authorities decided that it hosted "immoral and indecent" videos. That said, PTA lifted the ban a few days later after TikTok promised to moderate clips according to Pakistani "societal norms" and laws.
TikTok has established a Safety Advisory Council for Europe that will shape its content moderation policies amid a buildup of complaints and probes against the app in the continent. The creation of the nine-member panel, which includes anti-bullying and mental health experts, follows the US Content Advisory Council the Chinese-owned platform formed last March. TikTok's European delegates include academics and members of non-profits that specialize in dealing with child abuse, addiction, violent extremism, discrimination and cyber-bullying. It says the council will help it to develop "forward-looking policies" that address current and emerging challenges facing its thriving community. While the above issues aren't strictly limited to the video-sharing platform and affect all social networks alike, TikTok is facing heightened scrutiny in Europe over security and privacy concerns that relate to the welfare of its younger user base. EU watchdogs had already launched a glut of probes investigating its data-sharing practices before the app was hit with a massive consumer complaint last month. In it, a grouping of consumer watchdogs alleged it was breaking GDPR laws by hoarding personal information, hiding its policies behind vague terms and conditions and blurring the line between advertising and user-generated content. At the time, TikTok said it was ready to meet with the consumer organizations (a collective known as the BEUC) to discuss their concerns. Despite some of its failings, its latest move is also aimed at engaging with regulators as it seeks to further promote its user safety policies.
Sponsored Links Anatoliy Sizov via Getty Images TikTok is introducing a new policy that cracks down on ads that “promote a harmful or negative body image.” The app’s new rules ban companies from advertising fasting apps and weight loss supplements. Advertisers also have to adhere to new, tougher restrictions on weight loss ads that they can continue to run on the platform. For instance, ads prompting weight management products won’t be able to target users under the age of 18. TikTok is also partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to connect its users to resources offered by the organization directly within the app. One aspect of the partnership will see TikTok redirect people to the NEDA hotline when they search for topics and hashtags flagged by the non-profit. “As a society, weight stigma and body shaming pose both individual and cultural challenges, and we know that the internet, if left unchecked, has the risk of exacerbating such issues,” the company said. “That's why we're focused on working to safeguard our community from harmful content and behavior while supporting an inclusive — and body-positive — environment.” While a step in the right direction, ads promoting unhealthy dieting are only part of TikTok’s body image problem. There’s also the issue of TikTok users who post that content. The app’s community guidelines ban videos that “promote eating habits that are likely to cause health issues,” but you can still find countless proana videos on the platform despite those rules. Then there’s the opaque algorithm that powers TikTok’s For You feed. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed News detailed how the app exposes people to content that glorifies unhealthy eating and weight loss habits through its home page. TikTok points out people can long-press on a video to stop similar content from showing up on their For You feed, but that doesn't solve the problem of that those types of videos showing up in the first place. In this article: body image, TikTok, ads, Social media, body positivity, social networking, Bytedance, advertising, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 83 Shares Share Tweet Share