Nepal has decided to ban TikTok because the popular short video app was disrupting social structures in the South Asian nation.
“Considering how TikTok is disrupting our social harmony, and the impact it’s having on our family and social structures, the cabinet has decided to ban TikTok for the moment,” Rekha Sharma, Nepal’s minister of communication and information technology, told a press conference on Monday.
On Tuesday, Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal defended the decision at an event in city of Bhaktapur.
“After a long discussion on how to control the tendency to spread disharmony, disorder, and chaos in the society… a consensus was reached among all political parties, including both the ruling party and the opposition,” he said.
According to the country’s state-run Nepal Television on Monday,
Purushottam Khanal, chair of the Telecommunications Authority, asked internet service providers to cut access to the app,
The report added that WorldLink Communications, which bills itself as the largest internet service provider in the country, complied with the order, while other providers are expected to follow soon,
A number of countries have placed restrictions on the use of TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance and has more than one billion monthly active users, while India has banned it altogether.
Reuters reported, citing local media, that more than 1,600 TikTok-related cyber crime cases had been registered over the last four years in Nepal, contributing to “rising demand” to control the app.
The ban comes more than three years after India blocked Tiktok and several other well-known Chinese apps, saying they posed a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”
At the time, TikTok had an estimated 120 million users in the country, one of the app’s biggest markets.
The United States and its Five Eyes intelligence alliance partner, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, have placed restrictions on the use of TikTok on devices issued to government workers.
In February, the White House told federal agencies that they had 30 days to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices.