TikTok could be banned in India after July 22: What happened now and everything else you need to know
Months after TikTok was removed from the Indian app stores for Android and iPhone due to an interim order by Madras High Court, the micro-video site is again facing some challenges. While it was restored to the app stores after the court accepted its plea that TikTok was working on methods to monitor and remove troublesome content, this time the app has been told to give answers to 24 pointed questions by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity).
The app has time till July 22 to give answers. Government sources say that if the answers are not satisfactory then TikTok and Helo -- both apps are made by Chinese company ByteDance -- will be banned in India.
So is TikTok going to be banned in India? Chances are that probably not. But we can't we sure of anything right now. The government surely wants clear answers from the app. Here is what has happened so far.
-- Meity has written a letter to TikTok and Helo, 2 apps by China-based ByteDance, and seeking answers to 24 questions.
-- TikTok and Helo have time until July 22 to respond. Govt sources say that if no satisfactory answers received the govt may ban the two apps.
-- In its questions govt raises concern over what it perceives anti-India content and obscene video clips on TikTok.
-- The government also asks questions about underage TikTok users, about how TikTok monitors and removes objectionable content and how TikTok collects and share users data.
-- The govt action reportedly comes after a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) co-convener Ashwani Mahajan in the letter requested PM Modi on Sunday to ban TikTok and Helo, claiming that these two Chinese social media applications had become a hub for "anti-national content" and they were "exposing India's youth to being influenced by vested interests".
-- The letter apparently came after a video surfaced on TikTok in which three users, apparently based in Mumbai, talked of Muslims turning to terrorism due to incidents of lynching. These users were removed by TikTok and video deleted from the apps.
-- TikTok has over 800 million users in world, millions of whom are in India.
-- The app, which allows people to share seconds-long videos, has grown very fast. But its growth has also brought challenges to its parent company ByteDance as it scrambles to put in place usage guides and fine tunes methods to prevent abuse and misuse of the app.
-- People are nowadays using TikTok to upload and share all sorts of videos, from jokes to serious political and social commentary.
-- In a statement TikTok and Helo said: "We take our responsibilities to TikTok community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the Government to meet and exceed our obligations."
-- TikTok also said that its committed to India and that it is investing $1 billion here.
-- This is not the first time TikTok is in trouble. In April after Madras High Court interim order, the app was removed from Android and iPhone app stores. It was restored after the court granted it relief when TikTok detailed what it was doing to address the concerns over objectionable content within app.