Google blocks TikTok downloads in India over pornography concerns

Google blocks TikTok downloads in India over pornography concerns

Apple and Google have removed TikTok, which allows users to create and share videos, from their app stores in India.

With over 9 million downloads on the Google Play Store, TikTok is a very popular video making app around the world.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had passed an order on April 3 to prohibit downloads of TikTok application in the country besides barring media companies from telecasting its videos. Regulators then asked Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Apple Inc.to remove TikTok from their app stores.

The bench hearing the case said: "It is evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate contents are made available in this kind of cyber applications". India accounts for more than 39% of TikTok's 500 million global users. 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. He further contested that the Indian High Court in Madras had issued an interim order without giving TikTok the opportunity to defend itself.

Bytedance challenged the court's ban order in India's Supreme Court last week, saying it went against freedom of speech rights in India.

As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order.

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The matter will be heard on April 16 by the Madras High Court.

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 owner of app, ByteDance, had moved to the Indian Supreme Court last week against the high court's verdict, seeking a stay against the ban as it was causing 'irreparable damage to the company.

TikTok is problematic because it has been found to host user-generated content that is considered to be inappropriate. "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". Having said that, the company had recently announced that it had removed videos which were in violation of their guidelines.

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

They also expressed that they're not responsible for third-party content on their platform and the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 gives TikTok conditional legal safeguards in that regard.

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