Nepal has officially banned TikTok, attributing the decision to the popular short video app’s disruptive impact on social structures within the South Asian nation, according to government officials. The move follows a trend of countries imposing restrictions on TikTok, owned by the Chinese tech giant Bytedance, with India having already implemented a complete ban on the app.
Rekha Sharma, Nepal’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, stated at a press conference on Monday, “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.”
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal defended the decision on Tuesday during an event in the city of Bhaktapur. He explained, “After a long discussion on how to control the tendency to spread disharmony, disorder, and chaos in society, a consensus was reached among all political parties, including both the ruling party and the opposition.”
Purushottam Khanal, chair of the Telecommunications Authority, has instructed internet service providers to block access to the app, and WorldLink Communications, the country’s largest internet service provider, has already complied with the order. Other providers are expected to follow suit, according to a report from Nepal Television.
Local media, cited by Reuters, reported that over the last four years, more than 1,600 TikTok-related cybercrime cases have been registered in Nepal, contributing to a “rising demand” to control the app.
The ban in Nepal comes over three years after India blocked TikTok, along with several other prominent Chinese apps, citing a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.” At that time, TikTok had an estimated 120 million users in India, making it one of the app’s largest markets.
The United States and its Five Eyes intelligence alliance partners—Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand—have also imposed restrictions on TikTok’s use on devices issued to government workers. In February, the White House directed federal agencies to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices within 30 days, while Australia announced in April that the app must be removed from federal government devices.