SC refuses to hear plea of 'TikTok' seeking transfer of cases relating to ban
New Delhi: The Madras High Court on April 03 asked the state government to ban video app TikTok, alleging it was “encouraging pornography”.
The Chinese video app, TikTok, created by Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, allows users to record and share short videos with special effects. It has gained a huge popularity among rural India and people usually create Jokes, clips and footage related to India’s thriving movie industry, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.
In February, the IT minister of Tamil Nadu, during a media interview described some of its more suggestive dance content as “unbearable”, while a rightwing group close to the BJP 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 media the company was committed to abiding by local laws and was awaiting a copy of the court’s order, following which it would take appropriate action.
“Maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment … is our priority,” he said.
India’s federal 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.
Based on video-only interface, TikTok is less elaborate and easy to use app than platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. According to an app analytics firm the app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India.