Info-tech

Ban TikTok: Madras High Court to Centre

Reuters New Delhi | Updated on April 04, 2019 Published on April 04, 2019

Madras High Court on Wednesday asked the central government to ban Chinese video app TikTok, saying it was “encouraging pornography”.

Created by Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. It has become hugely popular in rural India, home to most of the country's 1.3 billion people.

Jokes, clips and footage related to India's movie industry dominate the platform, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.

Speaking to Reuters in February, the IT minister of Tamil Nadu described some of its more suggestive dance content as ”unbearable”, while a Hindu fringe group has called for the app to be banned.

Also in February, the BJP's chief of information technology, Amit Malviya, said the party was tracking TikTok conversations and called it “a brilliant medium for creative expression”.

The Madras High Court, which has been hearing a public interest litigation against the app, on Wednesday 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 seen by Reuters, adding that “there is a possibility of the children contacting strangers directly”.

A TikTok spokesman told Reuters the company was committed to abiding by local laws and was awaiting a copy of the courts order, following which it would take appropriate action.

“Maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment is our priority,” he said.

IT ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As well as asking the government to ban the application and prohibit its downloads, the court said TikTok videos should not be broadcast by media.

TikTok, whose video-only interface makes it less elaborate and easier to use than platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Published on April 04, 2019

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine, are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. You can also access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all our readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. You can help us by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section.

Our subscriptions start as low as Rs 199/- per month. A yearly package costs just Rs. 999 – a mere Rs 2.75 per day, less than a third the price of a cup of roadside chai..

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor