Wednesday February 21, 2024

PTA blocks 1.1m URLs for containing ‘unlawful content’ in 2022

January 11, 2023

ISLAMABAD: As many as 1.1 million uniform resource locators (URLs) were blocked by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority in 2022 for containing unlawful and hateful content.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) annual report for 2022 released on Tuesday, the decency and morality-related complaints were the highest in numbers as the regulatory authority processed 905,009 complaints for blocking purposes in one year.

The complaints processed by PTA for blocking were related to contempt of courts (8,709), defence of Pakistan (36,900), glory of Islam (78,119), defamation (7713), proxy (10,219), sectarian/hate speech (40,536) and miscellaneous (6,474).

The PTA houses a dedicated cell that monitors unlawful online content, where applicable and resolves complaints received from the public as well as government organizations.

It also regularly disseminates advisories through SMSs, as well as social and print media, alerting the public to report unlawful online content to PTA for appropriate action. As many as 1.1 million URLs, including 187 mobile applications used for various unlawful activities, have so far been processed for blocking.

PTA has consistently been encouraging SM companies to register with the authority as per removal and blocking of unlawful online content (procedure, oversight and safeguards) rules, 2021. In this regard, PTA initiated the registration of SM companies for compliance of the said rules.

Continuity of support to social media (SM) users and the creation of an enabling environment for tech companies by PTA has significantly increased the SM user base in Pakistan, where over 70 million SM users are currently active.

The country has highest numbers of YouTube users (71.7 million) followed by Facebook (57.7 million), Snack Video (20 million), Snapchat (18.8 million), TikTok (18.3 million), Instagram (15.6 million), LinkedIn (7.6 million), Bigo and Likee (4.2 million) and Twitter (3.4 million).