Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The government of Nepal announced Monday it has banned the TikTok social media video app in the country, citing what it called its negative effect on the nation's "social harmony."
Nepal's Council of Ministers opted to make the move after concluding that "propaganda" carried on the platform is contrary to national interests, state television reported.
"There is continuous propaganda from TikTok that disturbs our family structure and social relations. To control this, it has been decided to shut down TikTok for the time being," said government spokesman and Communications Minister Rekha Sharma, adding that the national telecommunications authority had already begun preparations to block the app.
The impetus to ban the Chinese-owned short-form video app comes from an increase in "social, religious and communal relations activities" on the platform, the government said.
Nepal's decision adds to a chorus of concerns raised misinformation circulating on social media, especially since the outbreak of Israeli-Hamas war last month.
On Oct. 19, the European Union asked TikTok and the Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to explain their efforts to combat disinformation related to the conflict, warning TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to step up moderation of content on the platform.
Citing the extensive use of TikTok by children, EU officials claimed that digitally altered videos carried on the platform relating to the massacre of hundreds of Israelis by Hamas terrorists at a music festival on Oct. 7 violated the EU law.
The city of New York in August banned TikTok from city-owned devices after determining it posed a security threat to its technical networks.
Not everyone in Nepal was happy with the government's decision to ban TikTok, however.
Gagan Kumar Thapa, general minister of the opposition Nepali Congress Party, said that although some regulation of social media is necessary, apps should not be completely shuttered in the name of maintaining social harmony.
In a statement cited by Nepal Television, Thapa said government's actual intention with the move is to stifle "freedom of expression and personal freedom," adding, "The government should correct this step."