(Image source from: Livemint)
TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing application, has been removed from the Google and the Apple app stores in India a day after the Indian government asked that access to the popular application, which has more than 230 million downloads in India, be banned.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had on Tuesday asked Google and Apple to block the application after the Supreme Court's refusal to stay the original Madras High Court order on April 3.
The Madras High Court had, in an ex-parte order, prohibited the download and use of the popular mobile video-sharing app. The government had been directed to prohibit downloading of TikTok and had prohibited the media from telecasting the videos made using TikTok Mobile App.
The court also asked the Centre to answer whether the Union of India will enact a statute, like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted by the United States, to prevent the children becoming cyber or online victims.
In a statement, TikTok said that the company has faith in the Indian judicial system. "We are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India, who continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives," a TikTok spokesperson said.
During the hearing on Tuesday, TikTok submitted before the Court that it has technology in place to filter inappropriate content, reports Bar and Bench. TikTok also claimed that the ex-parte order of Madras HC is arbitrary and illegal, as the ban on the download and use of the app not only curtails its right to freedom of speech and expression but will also lead to financial loss as well as a loss of jobs.
However, the Bench declined to stay the ban and adjourned the matter to April 24.
The Court has indicated that its primary concern is regarding the safety of TikTok users. However, before reconsidering the restriction imposed on the download of the app, the Bench has indicated that it wants to examine written submissions in the matter.
With over 54 million users every month, TikTok allows its users to create and share videos. The Madras High Court had banned it after deeming it “inappropriate for children.”
By Sowmya Sangam