The nation bans TikTok, effective immediately

Nepal has decided to ban TikTok, claiming that the app threatens social order.

The country's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, told BBC Nepali that TikTok was spreading malicious content.

“The ban will come into effect immediately and the telecommunications authorities have been given the authority to implement the decision,” he said.

Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal defended the decision at an event in the city of Bhaktapur.

“After a long discussion on how to control the trend of disharmony, disorder and chaos in society… a consensus was reached among all political parties, including both the ruling party and the opposition,” he said.

However, Gagan Thapa, leader of the Nepali Congress Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, said the government's intention appeared to be to “suppress freedom of expression”.

“Regulation is necessary to stop those who abuse social media, but shutting down social media in the name of regulation is completely wrong,” he wrote on X.

Internet service providers have been asked to stop accessing the app. The government said WorldLink Communications, which bills itself as the largest internet service provider in Nepal, has complied and other providers will soon follow.

Several countries have banned TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance and has more than a billion monthly users.

Nepal's ban comes more than three years after India also banned TikTok, along with several other Chinese apps, on the grounds that they posed a “threat to sovereignty and integrity”.

At the time, TikTok had about 120 million users in the country, carving out one of the app's biggest markets.

Other countries, including Australia, have banned TikTok over concerns of spying on government devices. Bytedance has long maintained that TikTok does not share data with the Chinese government.