Multiple countries have sought to tighten controls on social media

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) (AFP) - Kyrgyzstan said Wednesday it planned to ban the popular video sharing platform TikTok, after the Central Asian country accused the app of “causing addiction” among children and affecting their mental health.

The Central Asian country’s culture ministry said in a statement it had received “frequent messages” from organisations expressing concern about the app’s “harmful effects”.

“It is noted that TikTok immerses the user in a virtual world of short clips. After watching them, teenagers try to repeat certain videos, some of which are life-threatening,” it said.

It also accused the app of failing to restrict content which it claimed was “harmful to the health and development of children”.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Multiple countries have sought to tighten controls on social media due to their potential impact on children, including the United Kingdom and France.

However, Kyrgyzstan has also been criticised in recent months for reining in independent media, in what rights groups argue is a growing crackdown on freedom of expression.

TikTok, which has around one billion monthly users, has faced restrictions in other countries for allegedly breaking data rules, and has been banned in India.

The app has also faced fierce Western scrutiny over its ties to China. Its owner, ByteDance, is Chinese, but the company denies it is under Beijing’s direct control.