Jordan suspends TikTok for 'spreading hate' amid fuel protests

Jordan suspends TikTok for 'spreading hate' amid fuel protests
Activists have been quick to condemn the Jordanian government's move to take down the video-sharing platform.
2 min read
17 December, 2022
Authorities have blamed TikTok for failing to 'get a grip' of content posted of protests [Getty]

Jordanian authorities have blocked social media platform TikTok for "publishing acts of violence" after days of protests in the country against rising fuel prices.

Jordan has been gripped by protests nationwide against spiralling energy costs since 5 December. The government vowed on Friday to take strict security measures after a top-ranking police officer was killed a day earlier during protests.

The government’s Digital Crimes Unit - part of Jordan’s security services apparatus - announced on Friday that it has been "following what happens on social media, especially the incitement of hatred, vandalism, the assault of security officials, attacks on property and the blocking of roads". 

"TikTok has failed to get a grip of content shared by its users, whether it’s glorifying and publishing acts of violence, or inciting chaos. We believe there are videos from outside Jordan being faked to stir up anger inside the country," the statement read.

"For that reason, we’ve taken the step to temporarily suspend TikTok in the kingdom."

Rights activists and civil liberties organisations have been swift to condemn the suspension and highlight the importance of the video-sharing platform in activism.

"Why has the government chosen this moment to suspend TikTok? In short, TikTok has the most viewers in Jordan - and for those taking part in strikes and protests, it’s the principal means for sharing information and raising their voice," tweeted Jordanian activist Nadia Abdulaziz. 

After TikTok was blocked, Twitter became a host for Jordanian anger over the authoritarian move. 

"Blocking apps is a complete misstep - and has real negative consequences," tweeted surgeon Dr. Zeid Samkari. 

"If you really want to combat riot videos on TikTok, how about starting with transparent, unbiased coverage of what’s happening from official channels." 

The New Arab contacted TikTok for a response to the ban but did not receive a response by the time of publication.