Pakistan Blocks YouTube and Tinder for Offending Islam

Countries Mar 18, 2021

YouTube blocking
Access to the social network Facebook is also prohibited. On Wednesday, the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled to temporarily block Facebook after a group was created on the site that announced a cartoon competition for the Prophet Mohammed.

According to recent reports, several pages of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia have also become unavailable.

No comment has been received from YouTube yet. Access to the site has been blocked in Pakistan in the past and in 2008, allegedly for content that is offensive to Muslims.

According to observers, it remains only to find out how severe the new bans will be and whether users will bypass them.

On Wednesday, Facebook executives said they had conducted their investigation into a cartoon contest on the site's pages. It turned out that the content of the "Day of Drawing Mohammed" page did not violate the norms established by the site.

The Facebook cartoon competition sparked massive protests in several Pakistani cities.

Materials unacceptable to Islam
Officials from the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority said Internet service providers had been instructed to "completely block" YouTube and Facebook for Pakistan users.

It is known that these steps were taken after the approval of the Supreme Court, where it was stated that it was necessary to block "all types of access."

It means that Pakistanis will not be able to use Facebook and YouTube to organize protests, and subscribers need to remove from these sites any information that might be considered derogatory to Islam.

True, the volume of content unacceptable to Islam, according to the authorities, has only increased over time.

"We have blocked more than 450 internet links," the official statement said, stressing that the Pakistani Supreme Court ruling guided the agency.

It is not yet clear how far the authorities will go: after all, the Supreme Court's decision applies only to Facebook.

On Wednesday, Facebook said: "Even if the content of the internet group, for example, does not violate our terms, we understand that in certain countries it may be illegal."

Pakistan has established a special "hotline" where you can call with a complaint about offensive Internet material.

Tinder blocking
According to CNN, the country's popular Tagged, Skout and SayHi applications were banned. The Pakistani Telecommunications Supervision Agency said their owners violated the laws of the country. It is known that the authorities can "revise" the blocking if the blocked services comply with local laws, preventing the appearance of obscene and immoral content.

According to Sensor Tower analytics, Tinder, the app that is particularly popular in the US and Western countries, has received 440,000 downloads in Pakistan over the past 12 months. During the same period in the United States, the application was downloaded 13 million times.

All dating services have been blocked in Pakistan.
Grindr, which positions itself as the largest gay, bisexual, transgender app, has been downloaded 300,000 times in Pakistan over the past 12 months. During the same period in the United States, this application was downloaded approximately 2 million times. Tagged and SayHi were downloaded about 300,000 times in Pakistan, while Skout was downloaded 100,000 times.

The Pakistani regulator also does not rule out the possibility of blocking the famous TikTok video creation and sharing app. In July 2020, a government agency issued a "final warning" to TikTok for "immoral, obscene and vulgar content" found on the service. At the end of August 2020, the telecommunications regulator announced the results of negotiations with the leadership of TikTok. While the service has taken steps to moderate content, it is expected to take a more responsible approach to inappropriate content in the future to ensure compliance with local requirements.