Indian court refuses to suspend ban order on Chinese app TikTok

Blanche Robertson
April 17, 2019

The matter was initially raised in the Madras High Court which banned the app via an interim order without providing an opportunity to TikTok for defending itself.

TikTok, which allows users to create and share short videos with special effects, has become hugely popular in India but has been criticised by some politicians who say its content is inappropriate. The popular video making app has been alleged to encourage "pornography" in the country following which a ban was issued by the Madras High Court. The next hearing on April 24th.

The owners of TikTok are positive about the appointment of Arvind Datar as amicus curiae (independent counsel).

TikTok said in a statement that the company has faith in the Indian judicial system.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chinese company ByteDance, said there were over billion downloads of the mobile app and an ex-parte orders were passed by the Madurai bench of Madras High Court. It (MeitY) is ensuring that by asking Google and Apple to delete it from the app stores. The app already has a user base in excess of 100 million and the app isn't going to disappear from their phone just because it's been banned.

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There are more than 12 crore users of TikTok in India, and nearly 40% of all TikTok users globally are in India.

Following the Madras High Court's order, TikTok had reached out to Supreme Court for a stay on the order but the appeal was rejected on 15 April on grounds that the matter was subjudice. The Madras High Court had banned it after deeming it "inappropriate for children".

TikTok is a social media platform primarily built around user-generated lip-synced videos played to licensed tunes, and shared by users. The company, on the other hand, has said it can't be held responsible for the content uploaded by third-parties. "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.

However, users can go for alternative ways to download the app, but that can be illegal, and the downloaded code can be infected with viruses as well.

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