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Technology Brand Safety

Indian Government bans TikTok downloads over safety concerns


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

April 17, 2019 | 3 min read

The Indian Government has ordered Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores as it seeks to ban the short-video app.


TikTok is under more pressure over safety concerns and illicit content

The order was issued by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and follows an order by the Madras High Court prohibiting the downloading of the app in India. It has also restricted media companies from broadcasting any videos from the app.

While the ban would prohibit new downloads of the app it would not impact the experience for consumers which already have the app on their devices. India accounts for more than 39% of TikTok’s 500 million global users.

The move comes after the High Court determined TikTok was encouraging pornography and illicit content.

ByteDance, the Chinese company behind the hugely popular app, has appealed the ban arguing TikTok was like any other social media platform and the ban was discriminatory and arbitrary.

ByteDance told The Drum: "We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curae (independent counsel) to the court. We have faith in the Indian judicial system and 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."

According to the Economic Times, ByteDance has removed more than six million videos that violated its terms of use and community guidelines, following a review of the content generated by its users in India.

The High Court ruling follows a BBC investigation which questioned the brand’s safety credentials after revealing ByteDance failed to suspend the accounts of people sending sexual messages to children via the app.

In February, ByteDance was slugged with a $5.7m fine in the US after it was found to have illegally gathered the details of users under the age of 13.

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