- By Mariko Oi
- Business reporter
Nepal has banned China’s TikTok because its content was “harmful to social harmony.”
The decision comes days after the country introduced a new rule requiring social media companies to set up liaison offices in the country.
TikTok, which has around one billion monthly users, has been banned by several counties, including India.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Rekha Sharma has told BBC Nepali that the platform was spreading malicious content.
She added that “the ban will take effect immediately and the telecommunications authorities have been asked to implement the decision”.
But Gagan Thapa, a senior leader of the Nepali Congress, which is part of the coalition government, has questioned the government’s decision to impose a ban on TikTok.
He said it was an attempt to limit free speech and officials should focus on regulating the platform.
TikTok has been investigated by authorities around the world over concerns that data could be passed on to the Chinese government.
Its parent company, ByteDance, has previously denied the claim. TikTok did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on the latest ban by the government in Nepal.
Although TikTok lags behind Facebook and Instagram, its growth among young people far outstrips its competitors.
More than 1,600 TikTok-related cybercrime cases have been registered over the past four years in Nepal, according to local media.
While YouTube and Facebook are popular among internet users of all age groups, TikTok is very popular among younger age groups with more than 80% of social media users aged between 16 and 24 using the platform.