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Amid rising popularity of online dating, Pakistan bans Tinder, Grindr and other dating apps for ‘immoral’ and ‘indecent’ content

According to PTA, these apps could request to have their blocks lifted if they show they are "moderating the indecent/immoral content through meaningful engagement".

In a major decision, the Pakistan authorities on Tuesday blocked access to Tinder and several other dating apps in an effort to control “immoral” and “indecent” content.

According to the reports, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said it has banned users from accessing Tinder, Grindr, SayHi, Tagged and Skout after the social networking apps after it failed to “moderate… content in accordance” with laws of Pakistan. The PTA said the ban addressed the negative effects of immoral and indecent content

According to PTA, these apps could request to have their blocks lifted if they show they are “moderating the indecent/immoral content through meaningful engagement”.

The decision to ban dating apps comes just days after Pakistani regulators had threatened to shut down YouTube for similar reasons. Last week, the PTA asked YouTube to immediately block all videos they consider “objectionable” from being accessed in the country.

Right campaigners criticise Pakistan authorities

Meanwhile, the ban on apps has been criticised by rights campaigners who fear creeping censorship and control of Pakistan’s internet and printed media.

Shahzad Ahmad, director of digital rights group Bytes For All, slammed the PTA’s “moral policing”. Ahmad said if adults choose to be on app, it is not for the state to dictate whether someone uses an app or not. He described the ban as “a completely ridiculous move” that people would find ways to circumvent.

Pakistan threatens to boycott TikTok

In July, after banning video-sharing app Bigo Pakistan had threatened a ban on TikTok after receiving numerous complaints regarding ‘obscene and immoral’ content.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had issued a statement saying that they have received complaints against apps like TikTok and Bigo from various segments of the society. The complaints alleged that immoral, vulgar and obscene content had become “normal” on these social media apps.

PTA using its powers had said, “A final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality through its social media application”.

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