The government of Nepal has announced it is banning the social media platform TikTok effective immediately. Authorities stated TikTok was disrupting “social harmony” and spreading inappropriate content in the country.
The decision makes Nepal the latest nation to block TikTok amid rising global concerns over the app’s connections to China. However, the Himalayan country provided somewhat different rationales for the ban.
TikTok Use Viewed as Socially Disruptive
Nepal’s government spokesperson Narayan Prakash Saud said the Cabinet decided unanimously to ban TikTok nationwide. He asserted the platform’s use in Nepal was undermining “social harmony, goodwill and flow of indecent materials.”
Officials did not elaborate on precisely how TikTok was deemed socially disruptive. The app features short video clips on a vast array of topics, from dancing to comedy to politics.
Some more conservative nations have argued TikTok promotes vulgarity or Western values. Nepal may view the app as contradictory to local cultural norms.
Push for Social Media Accountability
Along with banning TikTok, Nepal announced steps to increase accountability for all social media companies. The government ordered platforms to register local offices, pay taxes, and comply with national laws.
Nepal previously banned pornography sites in 2018. The TikTok decision aligns with a broader effort to regulate social media content and practices within the country.
Authorities likely wanted TikTok to establish an in-country presence they could oversee more directly. However, it’s unclear if TikTok resisting this triggered the ban.
Global TikTok Scrutiny Over China Ties
Nepal did not cite cybersecurity or privacy concerns in announcing the TikTok prohibition. But the app has faced intensifying scrutiny worldwide due to its Chinese ownership.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is based in Beijing. Critics argue the Chinese government could potentially access user data through ByteDance or pressure it to censor content.
TikTok denies sharing data with China and claims it would resist any state intervention. But countries including the United States, United Kingdom, and India have restricted TikTok use over suspicions tied to China.
Nepal borders China and wants to maintain positive relations with the major power. But in banning TikTok, it joined global pushback against Chinese tech platforms.