Those of you in India who have been delaying your plans to shot to fame using TikTok have to look elsewhere now.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has asked Google and Apple to take down the Chinese media app TikTok from their respective app stores.
Those who have already downloaded the app will still be able to use it. But the new downloads of the app will no longer be available, unless Google and Apple appeal the order. Indian user base accounts for 39% of the 500 million global users of the video-sharing app.
TikTok’s ban in India
In an order dated April 3, Madras High Court had ordered to put a ban on the app. In its ruling, Madras High Court had noted that TikTok exposes children to pornography, and makes them vulnerable to sexual offenders.
The Madras HC also prohibited Indian media from using TikTok videos for the broadcast. It has also asked the Centre to enact an anti-child sexual abuse law similar to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the Unites States.
The Supreme Court of India rejected TikTok’s plea against Madras HC on April 15.
Apart from India, TikTok has faced legal challenges in several other countries.
In February 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined TikTok for illegally collecting data of its children. TikTok got into the row as it failed to enforce the norms that required parental consent for minors on its app. The country’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits the act of collecting names, email addresses, pictures and locations aged under 13. The app was made to pay a fine of $5.7 million. The app had 65 million users registered in the United States at that time. It was the 25th-most popular free app on Apple and fourth popular free app on Google devices in the country.
In July 2018, Indonesia banned the TikTok for a week due to the rampant spread of pornographic content and blasphemy on the app. The ban was reversed after TikTok agreed to remove the objectionable content.
The Bangladesh government blocked Tiktok, citing that the app is giving rise to an ill mentality. The country’s Telecommunications & IT Ministry banned thousands of other apps in Feb 2019.
TikTok’s paddling efforts in India
The Chinese app removed six million objectionable videos from its platform on April 13.
The company said to promote a positive in-app environment for its users in India. It also launched an entry-age feature for new users. It only allowed users aged 13 and above to create an account.
After taking the world by storm, the app-makers have taken the resort of Section (79) in India’s Information Technology Act and argued that it is just an intermediary and hence cannot be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform.