•      Fri Dec 1 2023

Tiktok: We removed 2.98 million videos for violating community guidelines

Kathmandu, Nov 17: The TikTok has commented that the Nepal government’s decision to undue blocking of a platform widely used for creative expression, in the absence of a substantial basis, is contrary to the principles of freedom of speech and expression.

In a letter to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), Nepal’s telecom sector’s regulatory body, on November 13, Ferdous Mottakin, head of Tiktok’s Public Policy and Relations for South Asia, mentioned that the government has unfairly shut down TikTok without sufficient grounds.

On Kartik 27, the government had decided to shut down TikTok, claiming that it played a role in disrupting social harmony. Soon after the government’s decision, TikTok has sent a letter clarifying about it’s position. In the seven points  letter, it is mentioned that TikTok is ready to address all the concerns of the Government of Nepal. The letter mentions that they are surprised by the decision to shut down TikTok.

In a letter dated November 13,  it has said, “We were as surprised as we’re sure the millions of Nepali citizens were, who have been a part of our community expressing their creativity and joy through the platform.”

“User safety is TikTok’s top priority, and we are committed to promoting a safe and welcoming environment for our community. As a global platform, we have thousands of people across the globe where TikTok operates, working to maintain a safe environment for our users. We address content and behavior that violate our Community Guidelines through a combination of policies, technology, and moderation, which may include removing contents and accounts,” it has said.

Tiktok has mentioned that from October 2022 to last June, 2.98 million videos that violated TikTok’s community guidelines were spontaneously removed from its platform in Nepal.

Similarly, it mentioned that Tiktok digital service has been registered as a taxpayer on August 29.

The letter also mentioned that TikTok has reached an agreement with the Nepal Telecommunication Authority to jointly conduct an internet security awareness campaign in Nepal, and presented the progress of its performance and collaboration with the government to the committee on cyber crime control and cyber security of the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 3.

It has clarified it’s position on seven points as:

1. We met the Ministry of Home Affairs Committee for Cyber Crime Control and Cyber Security on 03-Nov-2023. During the meeting, we presented our detailed working process, moderation process and collaboration commitment with the government of Nepal.

2. We conducted an Internet Safety Summit in Kathmandu on 05-Oct-2023 in presence of a wide range of stakeholders including non-profits, TikTok creators, civil society, law enforcement officials and government representatives.

3. We signed an MoU with Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) on 05-Oct-2023 to jointly conduct an internet safety awareness campaign in Nepal.

4. We opened up the access of the ‘Trust & Safety Enforcement Tool (TSET)’ to Government of Nepal on 07-June-2023 to ensure the Government can report any content that they find is violation of local laws.

5. We registered as a Digital Service Tax payer in Nepal on 29-Aug-2023.

6. We proactively removed 2.98 million videos from our platform in Nepal between Oct 2022 to June 2023 for violating our Community Guidelines.

7. We conducted multiple physical workshops for NTA, CIB and Cyber Bureau to enhance their knowledge and understanding of our platform. We also opened up the ‘Trust & Safety Enforcement Tool (TSET)’ for Cyber Bureau recently.

The letter further says, “We wish to continue our constructive relationship with the government to take further steps to safely grow our community in Nepal. We hope to have the opportunity to do so with the government’s future efforts to provide an enabling environment and support a level playing field for TikTok in Nepal.”

It has further said, “We seek to address any concerns raised by the Government of Nepal and work towards a resolution that aligns with both parties’ interests.”

The NTA officials have admitted that they have received the letter from TikTok.

TikTok Letter to Nepal Telecom Authority [FULL TEXT]