Google blocks Chinese app TikTok in India after court order

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2019

Google has removed TikTok from its Play Store, some users reported Tuesday night, but the popular short video app was available on Apple's App Store.

The High Court asked the government to prohibit download of TikTok application.

Following which, the centre had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the high court's order, according to an IT ministry official.

Meanwhile, TikTok, in a statement, said: "We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as a part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India". In addition to ordering Google and Apple to make the app unavailable for downloading, the court also ordered media houses to stop telecasting videos made using the TikTok app.

"We have removed over 6 million videos that violated our terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of contents generated by our users in India", the company said in the statement.

The owner of app, ByteDance, had moved to the Indian Supreme Court last week against the high court's verdict, seeking a stay against the ban as it was causing 'irreparable damage to the company.

TikTok is an immensely popular video sharing app that boasts of about 0.5 billion users, over 119 million of whom are in India.

Tiktok has already been banned in neighbouring Bangladesh and hit with a large fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children. More than 30 million users in India installed it in January 2019, 12 times more than in the same month previous year.

With over 9 million downloads on the Google Play Store, TikTok is a very popular video making app around the world. TikTok has argued that it is not responsible for the kind of content that third-parties upload. The top court had referred the case back to the state court, where a judge on Tuesday rejected Bytedance's request to put the ban order on hold, K. Neelamegam, a lawyer arguing against Bytedance in the case, said.

"We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as amicus curiae (independent counsel) to the court". He further contested that the Indian High Court in Madras had issued an interim order without giving TikTok the opportunity to defend itself.

"It looks like the Chinese internet companies have cracked the code of getting into India", Kolla said. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, posted the matter for hearing to April 22, as the Madras High Court is expected to hear the case on April 16.

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