Social Media

Govt puts TikTok, Helo on notice after complaint from Swadeshi Jagran Manch

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 18, 2019 Published on July 18, 2019

Swadeshi Jagran Manch has alleged that the platforms are being used for anti-national activities.

Social media platform TikTok has come under the lens of the government and may face ban if it does not comply with  regulations.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent questions to TikTok and Helo app, both owned by ByteDance, on whether they are collecting excessive data and if they are stored in China. MeitY has asked them to respond by July 22. The government also threatened that if the responses are not appropriate then the companies would be banned in India.

The questions to both the companies  follow a  complaint by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) to the Prime Minister alleging that the platforms are being used for anti-national activities.

In a three-page query, the government has asked if the companies can confirm that the data of Indian users will not be transferred to any other foreign government or  third partyin future ; if data are shared with any third party and if ‘yes’ then for what purposes; if TikTok and Helo are considering ‘storing/ processing this data in India’; and if TikTok uses the services of ‘Influencers’.

MeitY has sought explanation from Helo on allegations that it  paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.

It also raised the violation of child privacy and entry age of 13 years being set by these platforms while persons below the age of 18 years are considered  minors in India.

It asked that if the companies have taken any measures to create awareness among children and parents to ensure safe use of the platform and to avoid any addictiveness of the application among children and the young.

The MeitY also enquired  if TikTok has offices in India. When contacted TikTok and Helo, both said in a statement,  “In line with our commitment to India, we are investing $1 billion in India over the next three years, with a strategic focus on developing technology infrastructure, establishing local partnerships and supporting initiatives such as the Skill India Programme which we are proud to be assisting with already,” the statement said.

Published on July 18, 2019
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