"The court has asked PTA to block access to TikTok," Pakistan Telecom Authority spokesperson Khurram Mehran says.

The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company's US head office in Culver City, California, US, September 15, 2020.
The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company's US head office in Culver City, California, US, September 15, 2020. (Reuters)

Pakistan will block the popular social media app TikTok after a court order over a complaint that it runs indecent content, a spokesperson for the country's telecoms regulator has said.

"The court has asked PTA to block access to TikTok," Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) spokesperson Khurram Mehran told Reuters on Thursday, adding that the authority would comply with the order.

A high court in the northwestern city of Peshawar said it ordered the ban after a private complainant said the social media app was spreading indecent content, said Jehanzeb Mehsud, a lawyer who represented the PTA.

The service provider has been directed to immediately block access to TikTok, the regulator said in a statement.

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'Look forward to continuing to serve'

A TikTok representative in Pakistan said strong safeguards were 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," the representative said in a statement.

"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."

Muslim-majority Pakistan had banned the app in October, but restored it within 10 days after the company vowed to block all accounts involved in spreading "obscenity and immorality."

The telecom regulator said the social media company had agreed to moderate accounts in accordance with local laws.

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One of the most-downloaded apps

TikTok has been one of the most-downloaded apps in the South Asian nation behind WhatsApp and Facebook.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, has become hugely popular in a short period of time, by encouraging young users to post brief videos.

But the app has been mired in controversy in a number of countries, with authorities raising privacy concerns and security fears due to its links with China.

TikTok has denied that its ties to China pose a security concern in other countries.

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Source: Reuters