TikTok Ban: The Madras High Court asks Apple and Google to take down TikTok from App Stores

On April 3, 2019, The Madras High Court asked Apple and Google to take down TikTok from App Stores

On April 3, 2019, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court passed an order directing the government to prohibit downloading of the Chinese video app TikTok in the country saying that it encouraged pornography. For all those who don’t know, TikTok is an app that allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. As a matter of fact, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which has been hearing a petition against the app, had said that children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.

While the petition was filed by a Madurai-based senior lawyer-cum-social activist Muthu Kumar, and he cited “pornography, cultural degradation, child abuse, suicides,” as the probable reasons to ban the app in the county and request Apple and Google to take down the app from the App stores. After the petition, the matter was then taken to the Supreme Court, which refused to stay the order on the grounds that the matter was still sub-judice and that it would hear the matter on 22 April. Now according to a report in Economic Times, TikTok has characterised the order as disproportionate, discriminatory and arbitrary and made no comment on the ban. In its defence, TikTok states that it can’t be held liable for the kind of content that ‘third-parties’ upload on the platform.

According to TikTok's official statement: “As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order. The Supreme Court has listed the matter again for April 22, 2019, to be apprised of the outcome of the hearing on the April 16th, 2019 before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India. In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India.”

TikTok was launched in 2019 and it is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Co, and according to data, it was the fourth most-downloaded non-game app in 2018.

Credits: Economic Times

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