The TikTok App has been removed from Indian Google and Apple Stores this week, as a result of a state court ruling. The app was determined to be exposing children to inappropriate content.
The Indian Supreme Court Tuesday allowed for the lower court ruling on blocking Tik Tok downloads to stand. The state court of Tamil Nadu asked the federal government to ban the app earlier this month. The judges who supported the interim ban wrote that “The government has the social responsibility to prevent these kinds of applications.” The company was not given a chance to formally respond to allegations but attested that they have removed over six million inappropriate videos in India in an attempt to comply with local concerns. Despite this, the app will not be available for download.
Concerns have been raised to the government that children were able to access pornography through the app. Opponents of the app also warned that sexual predators could use the app to target children. In some cases, the app has been suggested to encourage users to commit suicide, as well as a medium for cyberbullying.
TikTok has gained significant popularity in India over the last year. The app has 120 million active users in India, with over 30 million of these users installing the app in January of 2019 alone. TikTok’s recent growing popularity has sparked interest in multiple governments other than India, including U.S. officials which are concerned about the popularity of the app among children.
Opponents of the apps ban argue that it is unconstitutional according to India’s freedom of speech protections. The Internet Freedom Foundation of New Delhi spoke out against the ban calling it “reactionary and disproportionate.” While they acknowledge the importance of technology policy to protect children, they say a blanket ban in unnecessary. TikTok and multiple groups hope to overturn the ban in the coming weeks.
Media: NBC 2019; NY Times 2019; CNN 2019