July 4, 2018 / 6:25 AM / 3 months ago

Indonesia bans Chinese video app Tik Tok for 'inappropriate content'

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities said on Wednesday they had banned Chinese video app Tik Tok for containing “pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy”.

The ban, which went into effect on Tuesday, is temporary and can be lifted after Tik Tok scrubs its content, said Minister of Communications and Information Rudiantara, who uses one name.

Tik Tok, popular among young people for its quirky videos, was the most downloaded app in the Apple app store globally in the first quarter of 2018.

It is operated by venture-backed Toutiao, valued at more than $30 billion according to sources, that is one of China’s fastest-growing tech start-ups.

Toutiao, also known as Bytedance Technology, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

“The app has a lot of negative and harmful content, especially for children,” said Rudiantara.

“Once Tik Tok can give us guarantees they can maintain clean content, it can re-open.”

The world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation has stepped up efforts to control online content after a rise in hoax stories and hate speech, and amid controversial anti-pornography laws pushed by Islamic parties.

Indonesia threatened last year to block Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger, unless obscene Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images provided by third parties were removed.

Reporting by Cindy Silviana, additional reporting by Li Pei, writing by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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