UPDATE: The TikTok app is now available on the Google Play store in India after being banned. Bytedance Technology pleaded for the court to lift the ban. Existing users were not affected as the order restricted new users from downloading the app. This comes as a relief since the video sharing platform was allegedly suffering up to $500,000 in financial losses each day. The reinstatement comes with new rules as TikTok now won’t allow users to upload nude content among other things.
Early this month, a high court in India banned the TikTok app in the Tamil Nandu state. The Madras High Court stated that the TikTok platform contained degrading culture and encouraging porn besides containing explicit content and causing stigma and medical health issue among teens.
The petition was successful to ban the app in the state among other suggested laws including governing legislation concerning children’s privacy online and the bench added to restrict media houses from broadcasting videos posted on the TikTok app. The Madras High Court also pushed for a countrywide ban on TikTok and looks like the ban has gone live since the TikTok app has vanished from the Google Play store and the Apple app store.
This is a hard hit for TikTok which gained 32.3 million new users out of the 75 million new users globally. The Indian subcontinent makes 39% of TikTok’s 500 million users generally. In India alone, the TikTok app has over 240 million downloads where various video being posted including lip sync and dance videos, memes and challenge videos. TikTok also employs more than 250 people in the country. This ban is worrying since it doesn’t come from a high-profile incident but rather from some vague reasons as its just generic worry from the government.
The Apple app store and the Google Play store has blocked access to the hugely popular app in India as they follow the court’s order to prohibit its downloads in the respective app stores. The Indian federal government sent a letter to the tech giants to follow the state court’s order. This came after Bytedance Technology, the Chinese tech firm that owns TikTok tried to convince the Tamil Nandu state to suspend the ban. This is a huge setback as it TikTok tries to grow in emerging markets. The apps have not been available on the respective app stores in India from Wednesday.
TikTok owner, ByteDance is still in court to challenge this directive as India is a huge market for the video platform. The ban is likely to encourage other Indian courts who are trying to regulate content on digital platforms such as social media networks.