Government clarifies TikTok ban amidst Supreme Court inquiry

Kathmandu: The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) has formally submitted a written clarification to the Supreme Court (SC) on December 4, addressing the recent ban imposed on the popular social media platform TikTok.

The government’s stance asserts that the decision to ban TikTok was necessitated by the platform’s inability to regulate its activities effectively.

In the submitted explanation, the MoCIT contends that TikTok’s self-regulation mechanisms are insufficient, particularly in handling real-time content.

The inability to promptly remove content violating community guidelines, coupled with the platform’s practice of recording and sharing live videos on other networks, rendered effective regulation unattainable.

The ministry points out that TikTok’s failure to adhere to the Santa Clara Principles, endorsed by various social media companies in 2018, reinforces the need for the ban. The revised principles in 2022 emphasize that social media companies must ensure the human rights of their users.

The MoCIT argues that TikTok’s algorithm, designed to serve users videos based on their interests, leads to excessive use and poses adverse effects on human health, contributing to issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

The ministry alleges that TikTok displays obscenity, promotes immoral activities, and contributes to an increase in illegal activities.

Moreover, the MoCIT claims that TikTok poses risks to citizens’ personal and confidential data, challenges national sovereignty, and violates privacy, categorizing it as a threat to national security. The government contends that while social media empowers citizens in some countries, Nepal faces a different scenario, necessitating the regulation of its uncontrolled use.

The ministry asserts that TikTok has been associated with various issues, including obscenity, human trafficking, misinformation, rumors, and threats to national security. The claim states that a majority of recent complaints to the police and cybercrime cases filed in courts are related to TikTok content.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has also submitted a written clarification to the SC, echoing concerns about TikTok spreading social diseases and epidemics.