A court in Egypt recently sentenced five female TikTok influencers to jail for two years for posting “indecent videos” on the social networking site. This is the first sentence issued by a court in Egypt on female TikTok influencers. A series of arrests have been made recently, many of which seem to have been designed to target female influencers on the controversial app.
The popular social networking site, which originated in China, has been under scrutiny in many countries. India initially banned the app as part of a ban on 59 Chinese apps in June. On July 28, the Government of India banned another 49, which were said to be clones of the first 59 apps banned. More recently, President Trump has issued an executive order that amounts to a ban taking effect in September, if TikTok is not sold to an American company before then. A ban in the US, which now has the largest number of TikTok users in the world, would be a big blow to TikTok.
In Egypt, the five women arrested have been charged with inciting “debauchery” and “immorality” with the content they posted on TikTok. Although it remains unclear exactly which videos and photos are of concern to the authorities. This is the first sentence issued by a court against female social media influencers in Egypt. According to a recent report by the BBC, the state-owned website al-Ahram reported that in addition to the prison sentence, the women were also subjected to a fine as well. While adding that “They are accused of violating the values and principles of Egyptian society.”
This instance is not the first in Egypt. In recent years, the country has cracked down on female singers and dancers for posting online content. Only last month, a belly dancer was arrested for posting a dance video that also went viral on TikTok. There have been other arrests in the past and at a time when the Internet is fast reaching all pockets of the country.
For TikTok, the crackdown in Egypt is yet another thorn in its side. Over the past few months, the video-sharing app has had to deal with many blows. Besides the ban in India, and the countdown that’s now taking place in the United States, there have also been indications that other countries, including Pakistan, could introduce similar bans in the future.
Although the US has been clamping down on Chinese tech companies, as tensions rise between the two countries, TikTok has been one of the few that has tried to mitigate concerns by introducing new support measures for US-based creators, while also promoting greater transparency in general. However, following the recent executive order, the only choice that might be left for TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is to consider selling TikTok. Although, even then it remains to be seen how a sale will help the TikTok perception that’s now building in other countries.
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