Friday, 19 April, 2019

TikTok app blocked in India by Google after Madras High Court order

TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India
Patty Aguilar | 17 April, 2019, 11:57

Google and Apple have blocked the download of TikTok from Play Store and App Store respectively in India, following a request from the government to ban access to the Chinese short video-sharing app that has been downloaded over 230 million times in the country.

Reuters reported earlier on TikTok's removal from Google's app store in India.

On April 4th, Madras High Court had ordered that TikTok app needs to be banned and had asked the Govt.to take action on it. Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

TikTok is touted to be one of the fastest-growing apps with vast markets like India driving its growth, contributing 88.6 million new users to the platform over the last three months, per reports.

While the app is now not available to download on the Google Play Store, existing users can still use it.

Representatives for Google and Apple declined to comment.

The ban order came after the court noted that children were being exposed to pornographic and inappropriate material.

The issue will be heard in the Supreme Court on April 22, but the app could potentially vanish from stores before then.

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Chinese startup Bytedance urged India's Supreme Court last week to quash the ban order, saying it would go against freedom of speech rights in India.

The state court has requested written submissions from Bytedance in the case and will next hear it on April 24.

The federal government had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the state court's order, according to an IT ministry official. The app has reportedly been downloaded more than 240 million times in India alone, and in a statement, TikTok India says it has more than 120 million monthly active users.

They also expressed that they're not responsible for third-party content on their platform and the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 gives TikTok conditional legal safeguards in that regard.

In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.

MeitY's order will help stop further downloads of the application, but people who have already downloaded it will be able to continue using it on their smartphones, said both the people familiar with the development.

"We have removed over 6 million videos that violated our terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of contents generated by our users in India", the company said in the statement.

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