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Chinese video sharing app TikTok banned in India

17 April 2019

On Tuesday, Bytedance Technology - the company behind the TikTok app - requested the high court to remove the ban on the app but the court refused and ordered Google and Apple to remove the app from their respective app stores.

In its April 3 order, the Madras HC said it was evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.

Following which, the centre had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the high 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.

The Indian government has asked Google and Apple to take down TikTok from their app stores.

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TikTok users in India who had previously downloaded the app on their phones were still able to use the service on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, as noted, TikTok has confirmed that it has removed more than 6 million videos, following a review of content generated by users in India. The top court referred the case back to the Madras High Court, which on Tuesday refused to lift the ban on the mobile app.

Tiktok has already been banned in neighbouring Bangladesh and hit with a large fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children.

"This marked a year-over-year increase of 70 percent from Q1 2018, when 110 million users installed the hit app for the first time", Sensor Tower stated. The company, on the other hand, has said it can't be held responsible for the content uploaded by third-parties.

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TikTok, the popular - albeit controversial - Chinese video-sharing app, has run into problems in India.

The case for ByteDance is being argued by Abhishek Manu Singhvi who is a senior advocate in India.

In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene. Having said that, the company had recently announced that it had removed videos which were in violation of their guidelines.

"The Petitioner in the impugned order herein has invoked the Writ jurisdiction of the Hon'ble Madras High Court under Artcile 226 of the Constitution of India, as a "Public Interest Litigation". The case is up for hearing in the Madras High Court, after which the SC will decide on its fate on 22nd April. He further contested that the Indian High Court in Madras had issued an interim order without giving TikTok the opportunity to defend itself.

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Chinese video sharing app TikTok banned in India