The Indian government has announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps that were listed on the Google Play store and the Apple iOS App Store in India. These include the popular video-sharing social media platform TikTok.
The ban comes in the backdrop of India's stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops. The IT Ministry said it has invoked its power under section 69A of the IT Act and rules and has decided to block 59 apps in view of the information available that they are "engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order".
The ban on TikTok has particularly come as a blow to the young Indians, who have been flooding various social media platforms with memes and threads to express their contrasting opinions regarding TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company that was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming.
While many have come out to convey their likes for the move, others have disregarded the same.
However, this is not the first time that a ban has been initiated towards the Chinese app. The app has been earlier prohibited in many public places including Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. There have been instances when shooting videos for the app had also caused danger pushing authorities to warn youth against the usage of the platform. The most commonly cited controversy to restrict the app was it's 'content', that has been argued to have an ill effect on young minds.
How many times has TikTok earned a dislike from people?
In April, the Madras High Court had sent a directive to the Supreme Court to ban the download of TikTok in India suggesting the app was "encouraging pornography". The IT minister of Tamil Nadu described some of its more suggestive dance content as "unbearable", while a right-wing group close to the BJP has called for the app to be banned. The Madras High Court had also said children, who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators. "Inappropriate" content was TikTok's "dangerous aspect", the court said in an order, adding that "there is a possibility of the children contacting strangers directly". Responding to the orders, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asked Apple and Google to disable the downloads of the TikTok app from the App Store and the Play Store respectively.
Earlier reports suggest that the most important issue at hand for TikTok was its content quality and integrity, with multiple reports questioning the abusive or pornographic elements of a general section of TikTok. Cyberbullying is yet another factor, where comments left by users were seemingly uncouth and to combat this, TikTok had designed a proprietary filter, wherein users could ban specific words from their comments in order to reduce the attempt to enforce vile intentions by fellow users.
In 2019, Delhi's Jama Masjid had banned recording videos for TikTok following a viral video of two girls performing handstands inside the premises. The tourists wearing caps were seen performing difficult handstands repeatedly. The video triggered controversies with people asking whether a religious place is the right location to carry out such activities. Eventually, the Masjid put up a board in front of its entrance that reads, "TikTok is strictly prohibited inside the mosque". Later, the Imam had also added, "Whether it's a mosque, or a temple, or a gurudwara, these places are for worship, not for singing and dancing. I had come across such videos made on this app where people were seen dancing inside the mosque courtyard and then I took the decision."
JAMA MASJID EK PICNIC SPOT ALLHA HEFAZT KARE pic.twitter.com/Fc92gZRgmS
— Abdul Rahim Abbasi (@AbdulRa02818732) April 30, 2019
In another incident in February, the Ministry of Indian Railways took to Twitter to warn commuters against filming TikTok videos at the cost of their lives. A viral TikTok video showed a young boy falling off a running train's door and almost coming under the wheels, while allegedly trying to perform a 'stunt'. Detesting the incident, the ministry said, "Getting off and climbing a moving train is fatal. Watch him lose his life in the course of a stunt, but every time luck will not be with him."
In May, controversy brewed around creator Faizal Siddiqui's month-old video. The video received a lot of criticism for glorifying acid attack, compelling acid attack survivor Laxmi Aggarwal lashing out at Faizal. She also thanked the National Commission for Women for cognizance of the video. The entire incident had made Twitter trend with #BanonTikTok.
Although TikTok was estimated to have around 120 million monthly Indian users as of June 2019, according to Global Web Index, the app has long been under the scanner for its content besides the recently cited security breaches.