KATHMANDU, Nepal - On Monday, the Cabinet decided to ban the social media app, citing its negative effects on social harmony. However, it is not clear when the decision will become effective.
Although freedom of expression is a fundamental right, the government claims that a large segment of society has criticised TikTok for encouraging hate speech. In the last four years, the video sharing app has reported 1,647 cases of cybercrime.
The Nepal Police Cyber Bureau, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and TikTok representatives discussed the issue earlier this week. Following the completion of technical preparations, Monday's decision is expected to be implemented.
The latest decision comes just days after the government issued the 'Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023'.
According to the new rule, social media platforms operating in Nepal must establish offices in the country.
A Cabinet meeting on Thursday mandated that social media platforms such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and YouTube, among others, establish liaison offices in Nepal.
The government announced the measure last week in response to an increasing number of people complaining that the lack of representatives from the companies in Nepal made it difficult for the authorities to address their users' concerns and even remove objectionable content from the platforms.
Within three months of the directives' implementation, the companies must either establish an office or appoint a focal person in Nepal. Similarly, businesses must register their social media platforms with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. The ministry has the authority to shut down platforms that are not registered in Nepal.
The guidelines include a 19-point not-to-do list for users of platforms such as Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.