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‘Disappointed’: TikTok responds to Pakistan ban

TikTok on Saturday expressed disappointment that its users and creators in Pakistan were still unable to access the video-sharing platform despite the company's efforts to enrage with the country's telecom regulator.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had on October 9 banned TikTok after the company "failed to fully comply" with its instructions for “development of an effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content”.

The PTA had said the step was taken after the authority received a number of complaints from different segments of society against "immoral and indecent" content on the video-sharing application.

According to a TikTok spokesperson, the video-sharing app kept engaging with the PTA to demonstrate its commitment to comply with local laws and further enhance its 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.”

The spokesperson said that TikTok has made “concerted efforts to address questions from the Pakistani government around their content moderation process”.

“TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and joy, and that's just what we've done in Pakistan. We've built a community whose creativity and passion has brought joy to households across Pakistan and opened vital economic opportunities to incredibly talented creators,” it said.

“We continue to hope that our productive dialogue with the PTA can bring assurance of the Government's commitment to a stable, enabling environment whereby we can explore investing further in the market, including in the inspiring talent we've seen thrive on TikTok.”

While hinting at opening a regional office in the country, TikTok said, “If the Government of Pakistan decides to reopen access to our services in the future, we will certainly assess our allocation of resources to this market”.

The spokesperson regretted that Pakistan’s vibrant online community was still unable to showcase its talent and creativity to hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

“We look forward to being able to reconnect with the energetic and talented youth of Pakistan and play our role in the success story of Pakistan,” the TikTok spokesperson added.

When TikTok was banned in Pakistan, the Pakistani TikTok community was caught unawares. To many, the platform was their identity and their livelihood — an integral part of who they are and what they do.

As the reality of the ban set in, many of the biggest stars vented their anger at the move, terming it as yet another blow to creative freedom in Pakistan.

Highlighting the fact that the application was a source of income for many, Pakistan’s biggest TikTok star, Jannat Mirza, had called for the removal of the ban.

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