No response received from PTA despite efforts: TikTok

ISLAMABAD: The administration of  TikTok has said the company had “received no response from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority despite the regulator’s acknowledgement and appreciation of the company’s efforts to comply with the country’s laws and to increase its content moderation.

On October 9, TikTok had been banned in Pakistan over ‘obscene’ and ‘indecent’ content. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority banned the TikTok in view of complaints. As per the authority, the app was given significant time to respond and comply with instructions to effectively moderate “unlawful online content”.

“However, the application failed to fully comply with the instructions, therefore, directions were issued for blocking of TikTok application in the country,” PTA said.

In a press statement Today, TikTok said it was “sad that our users and creators in Pakistan are still unable to access TikTok, more than one week after our services were blocked in the country”.

TikTok further said it had “made concerted efforts to address questions from the government of Pakistan around our content moderation process, including significantly increasing the capacity of our local language content moderation team”.

“After TikTok was blocked in Pakistan, we continued to engage with the PTA to demonstrate our commitment to comply with local laws and further enhance our content moderation capacity.

Though the PTA acknowledged and appreciated these efforts, our services remain blocked in the country and we have received no communication from PTA,” it added.

The company said it was unfortunate that the app’s users in the country were “unable to showcase their talent and creativity”, adding that the TikTok community’s “creativity and passion has brought joy to households across Pakistan and opened vital economic opportunities to incredibly talented creators”.

TikTok said it was continuing to engage with the government and it hoped that “our productive dialogue with the PTA can bring assurance of the government’s commitment to a stable, enabling environment.”

The company said it would assess its allocation of resources to Pakistan’s market in case the government decided to remove the ban on the app.

Earlier, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) held a meeting with Chinese-owned app TikTok’s senior management to discuss the video-sharing platform’s services’ resumption in the country.

According to a press statement by the PTA, a virtual meeting was held between the two parties today during “in an effort to have meaningful engagement with PTA, and in compliance with instructions of the Authority with respect to moderating the unlawful online content in accordance with laws of Pakistan.”

The statement said that TikTok’s senior representative highlighted the efforts that were taken and also shared future strategies on how to improve content moderation keeping in mind Pakistan’s laws.

The chairman of PTA asked TikTok’s management to provide tangible timelines on when the proposed actions can be taken.



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