The tides seem to have turned for the immensely popular short video sharing service TikTok. A recent incident of a boy being shot while recording a video in Delhi placed the app under the target of huge public ire. Now, the Government of India has followed up on Madras High Court’s request to ban the app. Following the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) directive, both Apple and Google have removed it from their respective app stores.
The directive was given the Madras High Court gave an interim order banning the video sharing service. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court, which refused to stay the order and proceed with hearings on 22nd April. According to reports, the government said that the app was being abused to upload child pornography and illegal content, and therefore, should be banned. It should be noted that according to a recent survey, India accounts for almost 39% of the app’s user base. When asked, the company behind TikTok said that it can’t be held responsible for content which was uploaded by third parties.
TikTok India released yet another statement after this one, welcoming the decision of the High Court.
We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curae (independent counsel) to the court,” the statement from TikTok reads. “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.
While the order, if it stays, will prevent most users from downloading the app through official channels, it will not affect the already established userbase of almost 120 million people who have the app installed in their phones already. Furthermore, the security of Android Operating System is in such a pathetic state that anyone can make a installer of the app if they have it installed, and distribute it over the internet without being held accountable.
This is not the first time that the Indian Government has cracked down on digital diseases. Last month, Gujrat government banned PUBG saying that the game was too addictive and was hindering the education process. It will be interesting to see how this event unfolds.