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The Indian high court has ordered Google and Apple to remove the social media app Tik Tok from their Indian stores. The authorities have suggested the app promotes the creation of pornography. The app published by Chinese company Bytedance has been popular all over the world but found a particularly enthusiastic audience in India.
The app allows users to create and share short video content. India's digital communications regulator, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has reportedly ordered Apple and Google to ensure the app is not available for further downloads. Users who already have the app will be able to continue to use it. According to TechCrunch, the app was still available in both stores at the time of writing.
App Still Available to Current Users
There are an estimated 120 million Indians who are already using the app. Others keen to still be part of the video sharing community will be able to find other ways to access the app outside of the two main App stores.
The ban will no doubt cause massive losses to the growth of the app though. The Indian ruling may also lead the way for other countries to ban the app who have similar issues with the apps ability to quickly create and share illicit content. ByteDance appealed against the decision saying they were being unfairly targeted in a sea of other social media apps that potentially allow for the same type of content sharing.
TikTok Trusts the System
Despite their obvious discomfort with the ruling, Tik Tok has released a statement affirming their trust in the Indian judicial system. “We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curiae (independent counsel) to the court,” the statement from TikTok reads. “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, who continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives,” the company said in a statement .
In addition to banning the app, the High Court also directed the regulator to bar the media from broadcasting videos created with the app. TikTok is facing the same issues that all social media platforms have to address.
Social Media Companies to Take More Responsibility
Controlling the illicit content created by their users has been an ongoing challenge for social media companies more broadly. Facebook recently faced backlash when the gunman involved in the recent New Zealand terror attack live streamed the massacre. Facebook said that in the first 24 hours after the attack, it removed more than 1.5 million videos of the livestream uploaded by users, being able to block 1.2 million of them "at upload". In the wake of the massacre, Australia passed new laws that would mean huge fines and possible jail time for social media executives if they fail to remove violent content from their sites.