India Asks Appstore and Playstore to Takedown TikTok From the Repository
For those who are keeping updated with the post-millennial world trends, by now you should have known about the viral app, TikTok, that has overtaken the world by storm. The China-developed media app, TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, was launched in 2016 in China, and the later year to the overseas market. It was specifically made for creating and sharing short videos online which soon became a worldwide sensation not only amongst the youngsters but to all ages.
The TikTok app is currently the most downloaded app in many countries. However, internet security experts warned that the app is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 16. With much further concern from the users and parents, the company has upgraded the app with more privacy features, but that didn’t satisfy and please India’s Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY).
On April 4th, the Madras High Court appealed the Central Government to ban the Chinese app stating that, children are being exposed to inappropriate contents including pornography. However, after the Supreme Court overruled the demand of the Madras High Court, MeitY of the Union Government of India reportedly urged Google and Apple to eliminate the Chinese app from their app stores. The order will reportedly only impact new downloads of the app, but those who have already downloaded the app will still be able to use it.
With an addition to the order on the ban of the app-downloads, the Madras High Court also barred the media from broadcasting TikTok videos and urged the authority to enact a cyberbullying and anti-child sexual abuse law equivalent to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA in the US. The High Court specifically commented that TikTok subjects minors to pornography and makes them susceptible to paedophiles online. Amongst the 500 Million global users, 39% of the users are accounted to be Indians.
After the High Court shaded light upon the issues, the ByteDance-owned TikTok said in response that their objective was to provide a positive in-app environment and deleted 6million videos from its platform on April 13, for infringing its community guidelines. Furthermore, the company has also included an age-gate feature that allows only users of age 13 and above to create an account.
During its plea to the Supreme Court, the company claimed the app as an intermediary and cannot be held liable of third parties on the platform. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a senior advocate who is representing TikTok, in this case, debated that the ban order has been causing the company irreversible damage. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the case will be heard again on April 22.
The Chinese company is under fire not only in India but also in the US, the UK, Hong Kong and Indonesia for the same. In February, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged $5.7 million penalties towards TikTok on account of failing to obtain parental consent from minors as required by the country’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Furthermore, the Bangladeshi government also barred the use of TikTok app along with thousands of other apps. The Indonesian government too banned the use of the app for a week alleging the pornographic content, though the ban was overruled after the company removed the objectionable content.
Do check some of the TikTok alternatives here.