If you were thinking of heading somewhere exotic today in order to sit back and scroll through your TikTok feed, unfortunately Nepal is no longer an option.
Because the country’s government has announced that it is instigating a TikTok ban that will apply to everyone accessing the internet there, on the basis that content distributed on the video-sharing platform is “detrimental to social harmony”.
The ban comes into force alongside a new rule that requires all social media companies operating in Nepal to set up a liaison office in the country.
Governments around the world have expressed concerns about TikTok, mainly in relation to allegations that the Chinese government has access to global user data via the video app’s China-based parent company Bytedance.
That has resulted in some governments stopping their employees from using the app on official devices. The Indian government, meanwhile, banned the use of TikTok more generally back in 2020, and - in the US - law-makers in Montana are in the process of introducing a similar ban that will apply within that state.
Nepal's Minister For Communications And Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, told the BBC that the new TikTok ban was being introduced with immediate effect and was necessary to stop the spread of "malicious content". She added that "telecom authorities have been directed to implement the decision".
However, the ban has been criticised by some of Sharma's political rivals, including Gagan Thapa, a member of the Nepali Congress party which is also part of the country's current coalition government. He said that the ban is actually an attempt to restrict free speech and that officials should be seeking to regulate the video-sharing platform rather than banning it.
He stated yesterday: “Regulation is necessary to discourage those who abuse social media, but shutting down social media in the name of regulation is completely wrong".
He cleverly wrote that on Twitter rather than expressing his viewpoint in a nifty TikTok video because, well, that would be pointless, wouldn’t it?