The government has passed the ‘Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023,’ requiring major social media platforms, including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and YouTube, to establish their offices or appoint focal persons within the country.
The decision, approved by the Cabinet on Thursday, comes in response to a rising number of complaints from users who found it challenging to address concerns or report objectionable content due to the absence of company representatives in Nepal.
According to the directives, companies must set up an office or designate a focal person within three months of the enforcement of the rules. Additionally, social media platforms must register with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, with unregistered platforms facing the risk of being shut down.
The directives also include a comprehensive 19-point list of prohibited actions for users on platforms like Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Notable prohibitions include the creation of fake IDs, the spread of hatred based on gender, community, caste, religion, or profession, and the promotion of harmful activities such as child labor, human trafficking, child marriage, and polygamy.
The rules extend to preventing the use of hate speech, defamation, and the spreading of false information. Other banned activities include the distortion of images, unauthorized sharing of private affairs, posting vulgar content, and promoting illegal activities like paedophilia, sexual exploitation, prostitution, narcotic substance use and trade, gambling, cyberbullying, and terrorism-related content.
The government’s move aims to enhance user protection, facilitate smoother communication between authorities and social media platforms, and address the growing challenges posed by objectionable content circulating on these platforms.