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Pakistan Bans TikTok Due to ‘Immoral and Indecent’ Content

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pakistan bans tiktok due to immoral and indecent content
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While negotiations over the future of TikTok in the US are still ongoing, and could still result in a national ban, Pakistan has today announced that it’s moving to ban the app – though not for the same reasons as the proposed US action.

As reported by TechCrunch, Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority posted this notice earlier today:

“In view of [a] number of complaints from different segments of the society against immoral/indecent content on the video sharing application TikTok, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has issued instructions for blocking of the application.”

Pakistan, a majority Muslim nation, neighbors India, which banned TikTok back in June due to ongoing border conflicts with China. At that time, TikTok had become a huge hit among Indian users, with around 200 million actives, making it TikTok’s biggest single market, and given their proximity, it’s little surprise to see that TikTok had also been on the rise in Pakistan too, though Pakistan’s active audience is much smaller, with only around 35% of the nation’s 212 million citizens able to access to internet.

As such, it won’t be as significant a blow to TikTok’s global numbers. But still, it’s another concern for the controversial app. 

Various questions have been raised about TikTok’s potential to expose young users, in particular, to questionable content. The app was temporarily banned in India early last year due to concerns over “pornographic and inappropriate” videos, which eventually lead to TikTok removing more than 6 million clips, and implementing new measures to enable its reinstatement in the nation. 

TikTok was also fined a record $5.7 million by the FTC in the US earlier this year in a settlement over allegations that it had illegally collected personal information from children under the age of 13, while its also currently under investigation in France due to concerns around its measures to protect younger users. UK authorities have also investigated the same.

And such concerns are indeed relevant – a report uncovered by The New York Times back in August showed that more than a third of the app’s daily users in the US are aged 14 years old or younger. Couple this with past questions around its moderation processes, including the demotion of content posted by users deemed ‘too ugly or too poor‘, and it doesn’t paint a great image of the app, and its measures to assure the protection of younger users. 

Given the various factors, Pakistan’s decision to ban the app is not a major surprise – but as noted, it’s another mark against the app’s name, which further taints the brand, and could eventually lead to a bigger push for more action against the app in other regions.

Definitely, it remains a contentious platform – its young user base, combined with its focus on dance trends, can easily lend the app to more suggestive, concerning actions as uploaders chase engagement. And that’s before you even consider the potential links with the Chinese government, and the app’s requirements to share user data with the CCP. 

As such, while TikTok might not be losing a massive chunk of its audience with the Pakistan ban, the expanded implications are significant, and will further add to opposition against the app. 

It’s little wonder, then, that TikTok is very keen to highlight trends like this instead:

TikTok literally pitched itself as “the last sunny corner of the internet“, where creativity and joy reign supreme.

But is that true? All platforms have to deal with moderation concerns, and those concerns only grow in line with usage. In this sense, TikTok should maybe be given some leeway in addressing such issues – but then again, its parent company ByteDance is very experienced in moderation concerns and dealing with potential issues.

How you view such will largely come down to your own experience of the platform and what it represents, but clearly, valid concerns do remain. Whether they lead to further restrictions on the app, we’ll have to wait and see. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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TikTok spends $1.5B on Tokopedia JV to get around Jakarta social e-commerce ban

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TikTok spends $1.5B on Tokopedia JV to get around Jakarta social e-commerce ban

Just two months ago, ByteDance-owned TikTok abruptly closed its shopping platform in Indonesia to comply with surprise regulations from the Southeast Asian country’s government. Jakarta ordered social media companies like TikTok and Facebook to stop selling goods on their platforms, demanding a separation of social media and e-commerce services.

TikTok now seems to have found a way to revive its e-commerce dreams in Indonesia by spending billions to start a joint venture with Indonesian tech giant GoTo. On Monday, the two companies announced that TikTok Shop will now be available on GoTo’s Tokopedia platform.

“Tokopedia and TikTok Shop Indonesia’s businesses will be combined under the existing PT Tokopedia entity in which TikTok will take a controlling stake. The shopping features within the TikTok app in Indonesia will be operated and maintained by the enlarged entity,” TikTok said in a statement Monday.

TikTok will invest over $1.5 billion into Tokopedia, taking a 75% stake in the platform. GoTo will remain an ecosystem partner to Tokopedia and receive an “ongoing revenue stream from Tokopedia commensurate with its scale and growth,” but will not be required to continue funding the platform. Further funding from TikTok also won’t reduce GoTo’s remaining 25% stake.

Getting back into the Indonesian ecommerce market will be a win for TikTok. Indonesia, which is the platform’s largest market outside of the U.S., is key to Tiktok’s online shopping aspirations. In June, CEO Shou Zi Chew pledged to “invest billions in Indonesia and Southeast Asia over the next few years.”

ByteDance wants to replicate its Chinese e-commerce successaround the globe. Last year, consumers spent in China 1.41 trillion yuan ($196 billion) on products sold on Douyin, the version of TikTok for the Chinese market, The Information reported in January. ByteDance, through TikTok, is expanding its online shopping services in both Southeast Asia and the U.S. Yet the company is struggling to win over American consumers: The Information reported in August that U.S. shoppers are spending just $4 million a day, equivalent to $1.4 billion over a whole year, on goods sold on the social media platform. (TikTok officially launched TikTok Shop in the U.S. in September, though sellers have complained about a flood of low-quality products on the platform).

Before Indonesia imposed its ban in September, the country’s president, Joko Widodo, complained that social media platforms were threatening local micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. Government officials also accused TikTok of engaging in predatory pricing.

GoTo’s deal with TikTok means the Indonesian tech giant is giving up its majority ownership of Tokopedia . Tokopedia started in 2008 and grew to be one of Indonesia’s largest e-commerce platforms. The company merged with ride-hailing startup GoJek in 2021, becoming GoTo Group. The company debuted on Jakarta’s stock exchange in April last year.

Yet the company has struggled to wow investors since then. GoTo has yet to make a profit since becoming a public company. The tech firm reported 2.4 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($147 million) in net losses last quarter, significantly less than the 6.7 trillion rupiah ($428 million) it lost this time last year.

Investors do not appear to be thrilled by the news of GoTo’s TikTok partnership. Shares fell by over 19% by 2:30pm Indonesia time on Monday, erasing gains made late last week as rumors began to build of the new partnership.

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How to Train ChatGPT to Write in Your Brand’s Tone of Voice [Infographic]

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How to Train ChatGPT to Write in Your Brand’s Tone of Voice [Infographic]

Are you looking for ways to improve your ChatGPT output? Want to train it to write in a more unique tone of voice, in order to better suit your branding?

The Creative Marketer shares his ChatGPT prompt tips in this infographic. To enact these, add “Write like [INSERT CHARACTER]” at the start of your ChatGPT instructions.

TCM breaks things down into the following categories:

  • Innocent
  • Sage
  • Explorer
  • Ruler
  • Creator
  • Caregiver
  • Lover
  • Hero
  • Everyman
  • Magician
  • Jester
  • Outlaw

Check out the infographic for more information.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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Elon Musk reinstates far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on X

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Joe Buglewicz

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, on Sunday reinstated far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the social media platform, a year after vowing never to let him return.

Jones, who claimed that a December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators was a hoax, was banned from the platform — then still known as Twitter — in 2018 for violating its “abusive behavior policy.”

He was also sued by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and ordered by a judge in the case to pay up more than a billion dollars in damages last year.

Musk had himself promised never to let the Infowars host back on the social media platform, which he bought last year for $44 billion.

But following a poll Musk conducted on X asking whether Jones should be reinstated, to which some two million users responded, he flipped that decision.

“I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?” the SpaceX founder said on X.

But Shannon Watts, founder of the group Moms Demand Action group which pushes for tighter gun laws, said that “defamation is not free speech.”

Musk’s decision comes the same week that the Sandy Hook families commemorate the 11th anniversary of the December 14 shooting, which Jones alleged was staged to allow the government to crack down on gun rights.

Jones’ followers harassed the bereaved families for years, accusing parents of murdered children of being “crisis actors” whose children had never existed.

It also came a week after Musk had responded to advertisers pulling out of X because of far-right posts and hate speech, including an apparent endorsement by Musk himself of an anti-Semitic tweet.

Asked whether he would respond to the advertising exodus, Musk said in an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that the advertisers could “go f*** yourself.”

Jones, who has a million followers on X, returned to the site with his first post re-tweeting Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxer facing rape and human trafficking charges in Romania, in which he hailed Jones’ “triumphant return”

US media reported that as of Sunday, the account of Jones’ controversial show Infowars was still banned.

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