Activists of Pakistan Citizen Organisation shout slogans against the restore of TikTok services in the country, in Islamabad on October 20, 2020. Pakistan on October 19 said it would lift a recent ban on the video-sharing app TikTok after assurances that "immoral" content would be blocked. (Farooq Naeem / AFP)
Young TikTokers are celebrating across Pakistan after the authorities lifted a ban on one of the world’s largest short-form video-sharing app earlier this week.
The restoration inspired a new trend as teenagers are lip-syncing dialogues around “the recovery” in TikTok videos. Personally, I don’t care about the overall goofiness and the dance challenges usually uploaded on this platform – famous for users' choreographed and intentionally humorous videos.
Hours before Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked the app on Oct. 9, citing complaints against its immoral and indecent content, I picked up my phone to scroll new videos only to discover a boy trying to make a name for himself by crawling on his back in an open sewerage line filled with black sludge. For me, one weird video, watermarked with a vibrating TikTok logo, is enough for one day.
But there is no denying that the app has become hugely popular in a short period of time and its millions of followers have a really wide reach, especially among young people. It was even discussed in a recent online meeting of the Communication Team of Caritas Asia member organizations.
Father John Murray, head of the Pastoral Care for Migrants, Refugees and Prisoners at Caritas Thailand, suggested others consider TikTok as a suitable social media platform to support Caritas campaigns and amplify the messages based on contexts from different countries: different preferences in each country, different range of users’ age in various platforms.
Another official referred to the TikTok account of the United Nations’ IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development which has amassed 14,400 followers and 91,000 likes. Last year the UN invited young people to #danceforchange on TikTok to persuade global leaders to do more to invest in rural youth and agriculture.