In a significant move reflecting the complex interplay of technology, security, and social values, the government of Nepal decided on November 13, 2023, to ban the widely-used social media platform TikTok. This decision, citing concerns over social harmony and a rise in cybercrime incidents, brings Nepal into a growing list of countries scrutinizing or restricting the app for various reasons. TikTok has been major social media app in Nepal – with probably every mobile phone user installing it on their phone; and the platform served free infotainment hub since the covid era.
Why the TikTok Ban?
The decision to ban TikTok in Nepal was taken during a Council of Ministers meeting, driven by the app’s perceived negative effects on social harmony. The government cited 1,647 cases of cybercrime related to TikTok over the past four years as a substantial reason for this action. The concerns about the platform fostering hate speech and communal conflict were central to the government’s rationale for the ban.
Can TikTok Ban in Nepal happen overnight?
The TikTok ban in Nepal, to be implemented immediately, involves coordination between the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT), internet service providers (ISPs), and telecom companies in Nepal. The process, though technically complex, aims to block the app on users’ devices and remove it from digital stores in Nepal, effectively halting new downloads and possibly limiting access for existing users.
Looking in the technical and implementation aspects, and as with many other projects, it is a challenge for the government. We doubt TikTok ban in Nepal might happen overnight.
Mixed TikTok ban reaction in Nepal
The announcement was met with mixed reactions. While some segments of the population and netizens expressed support, citing concerns over the content and its societal impact, others, including political leaders and journalists, criticized the decision. They argued that such a ban infringes on freedom of expression and could set a precedent for further digital censorship. This is also because TikTok is seen as a free advertisement and infotainment platform during the recent years, specially since the covid times.
What’s happening with TikTok Ban globally?
Team TechSansar tried to look into comparative global perspective of the social media app TikTok’s ban and the news is not so great.
Globally, TikTok faces scrutiny in several countries, with bans or restrictions primarily due to concerns over data security, misinformation, and potential foreign influence operations. Countries like India, Indonesia, and the United States (on government devices) have taken similar actions, often citing national security concerns linked to TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, being headquartered in China. The TikTok ban of some extend is seen in 23 countries as of now, with Nepal being on the list, the total countries where TikTok is banned will be 24.
This ban in Nepal raises important questions about digital governance, freedom of expression, and the balance between public safety and individual rights in the digital age. It reflects a broader global trend of increasing government intervention in social media and the internet, highlighting the challenges nations face in regulating evolving digital platforms.
Let’s take a moment, TikTok won’t stop working OVERNIGHT in Nepal.
The TikTok ban in Nepal is a pivotal moment in the country’s digital landscape. It signifies the challenges governments face in regulating social media while balancing societal values and individual freedoms. As Nepal navigates this new digital reality, its approach offers insights into the broader global discourse on technology, policy, and societal norms in an increasingly interconnected world. Rest assured, Team TechSansar is hopeful that the ban is much complicated and consumers like ourselves may not see the impact immediately.