As a result of the order from the Madras High Court for Video mobile app TikTok ban in India, the app is no longer available for download from Google Play store and Apple app store. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had reportedly directed Google and Apple to remove the app from their app stores.
TikTok is a media app for creating and sharing short videos, popular in China with the name Douyin. As of 2018, it crossed 500 million users and is available in 75 languages. The app allows users to create short music videos of 3-60 seconds. According to the data provided to CNBC by Sensor Tower, TikTok was downloaded 104 million times on Apple’s App store during the full first half of 2018. In India, it is estimated to have around 120 million users within just a short span of time of its launch.
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TikTok ban in India – what led to removal of TikTok from app stores
- In February 2019, concerns were raised about the sexually explicit content, cyberbullying, racist, and privacy issues about the app which may expose users to sexual predators.
- On April 4, 2019, Madras High Court asked the government to ban the app. The court also noticed that children using the app were at risk of being targeted by sexual predators.
- TikTok filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the order of Madras High Court citing the order breached the freedom of speech. However, the Supreme Court refused to stay the order by the Madras High Court to ban the app.
- On 17 April 2019, after a government notification, Google and Apple removed TikTok app from their app stores and it is no longer available for download. Users who have already downloaded the app will continue to be able to use it.
- The court also appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as an independent counsel about this case to examine the implications of the app. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for April 24.
Reported Consequences of TikTok:
- TikTok has been accused of promoting pornography, inappropriate content, pedophiles, and cyberbullying.
- In Delhi, a 19-year-old boy was allegedly accidentally shot dead by a friend while posing with a pistol to make a video on TikTok.
- A college student in Tamil Nadu lost his life after his scooter rammed into a bus while he was reportedly making a video on TikTok.
- Late 2018, two groups reportedly got into a fight over TikTok videos which left eight persons injured.
- A man from Punjab lost his life after slipping while creating a video reportedly on TikTok of getting on to the moving tractor.
- One person in Chennai reportedly accidentally slit his throat on camera while trying to make a video.
TikTok ban in India – Restrictions imposed in various countries
- In February 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission fined TikTok $5.7 million, “the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children’s privacy case.” It also directed TikTok to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and take down any videos uploaded by users under 13.
TikTok is embroiled into a legal war with WeChat of Tencent over various issues.