TikTok Ban: Madras HC order based on exaggerations made by petitioner

TikTok app

Following up on an interim order from the Madras High Court, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has ordered both Apple and Google to remove the app from their respective stores. The app was still available on Apple's app store until Tuesday, April 16 but has been removed from Google's Play Store in India. TikTok is a popular mobile application that allows users to create short lip-synced videos.

The court also appointed Advocate Arvind Datar as independent counsel in this case.

The move comes hours after a court in southern Tamil Nadu state refused a request by China's Bytedance Technology to suspend a ban on its TikTok app, putting its future in one of its key markets in doubt. The company released a statement saying that they are optimistic about the outcome.

In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.

At time of writing, Apple has not pulled TikTok from its App Store in India.

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The Chinese video-based social networking app then filed a petition with India's supreme court citing their concern that the ban on TikTok will "amount to curtailing the rights of the citizens of India". More than 30 million users installed the app in January 2019, 12 times more than in the same month previous year.

Quoting sources, a PTI report said instructions in this regard were sent to the two companies on Monday after the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the Madras High Court's order. It also restricted media companies from telecasting any videos that are made using the application.

However, users can go for alternative ways to download the app, but that can be illegal, and the downloaded code can be infected with viruses as well. "The decision to ban TikTok makes sense because it has a much younger audience which includes children who are still in school, unlike Twitter which has more mature audience", says Shradha Agarwal, COO, Grapes Digital.

In its plea to the SC, TikTok had argued that it is an intermediary as defined under Section 79 of the country's Information Technology Act, and it can not be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform.

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