The TikTok community is very much active in India despite an "interim" ban and the platform is relying on both technology and a "huge" content moderation team to prevent misuse, a top company executive said on Thursday. The Chinese short video-sharing app, which claims that it has over 120 million monthly active users in India, is facing criticism for circulation of "pornographic content" and endangering the safety of children.
Google and Apple blocked the app, following a request from the government. "Currently I think it is an interim ban. We are very positive that we will get a favourable response from the government," Sumedhas Rajgopal, Strategy and Entertainment Lead, TikTok India, told IANS. "For us, the app is still functioning. The TikTok community is still active," Rajgopal added.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had asked Google and Apple to block the app following the Supreme Court's refusal to stay the original Madras High Court order on April 3. The apex court said it would hear the matter on April 22. TikTok said it was taking important steps including the use of technology and manual screening of content to curb the spread of inappropriate content.
"We have an active content moderating team which has grown 400 per cent in the last one year," Rajgopal claimed. "This team is constantly taking down content. Last week we announced the removal of six million videos that violated our policies on community guidelines," he added. Owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, TikTok has seen dramatic rise in its numbers of users over the past three years. TikTok claims that it is now available in over 150 markets, and in 75 languages.
But 2019 has been particularly rocky for the platform. Earlier this year, the operators of the video social networking platform agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that the company illegally collected personal information from children. While calling for a ban in India, the Madras High Court also referenced similar bans for the app in countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Amid fears that TikTok could expose vulnerable children to sexual predators, Rajgopal claimed that a lot of creators are joining the platform to discover their talent and even many celebrities are now seeing the potential of the platform in helping them connect with their fans. "There is a spike in music being discovered on this platform," he said, adding that TikTok was committed to making the platform safe for all its creators.