In our previous report titled “The secretive world of TikTok,” we extensively covered various concerns surrounding TikTok’s operations, including data collection practices, privacy issues, security vulnerabilities, and allegations of misuse for breaching internal security. The report shed light on TikTok’s controversial clauses, such as sharing information with the Chinese government and potential security threats posed by the app’s data collection methods.
In a recent Cabinet meeting held on 13th November 2023, the Nepal government decided to ban TikTok, the Chinese-owned app, citing its adverse effects on social harmony. The decision, aimed at addressing concerns over hate speech tendencies promoted by TikTok, has yet to specify when it will be enforced. While acknowledging the importance of freedom of expression, the government points to the criticism from a significant section of society regarding the negative impact of the app.
The decision follows discussions between the Cyber Bureau of the Nepal Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and representatives of TikTok, which took place earlier last week. With 1,647 reported cybercrime cases on the platform over the past four years, the government is gearing up for the ban, with technical preparations expected to precede its implementation.
This move coincides with the recent introduction of the ‘Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023.’ As per the new rule, social media platforms operating in Nepal are now required to establish offices within the country. A Cabinet meeting on Thursday mandated popular social media sites, including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and YouTube, among others, to open liaison offices in Nepal. The decision aims to address growing concerns that the absence of company representatives in Nepal hampers authorities’ ability to respond to user concerns and remove objectionable content.
Furthermore, the companies are obligated to establish an office or appoint a focal person in Nepal within three months of the directive’s enforcement. Compliance also involves registering social media platforms with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. Non-compliance could lead to the shutdown of platforms not registered in Nepal.
It remains crucial for TikTok to address these security and social concerns raised by various countries, as highlighted in our previous report and the recent ban on TIktok by Nepal, and take tangible steps to ensure transparency and compliance with regulations.