TikTok ban in India: Google blocks Chinese app after Madras HC order

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The Indian Government has ordered Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores as it seeks to ban the short-video app.

This is indeed a big blow for TikTok, because India is the country where they are witnessing highest growth, and a ban from Google and Apple app stores will halt their growth.

On April 3, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had directed the Centre to ban TikTok app, voicing concern over "pornographic and inappropriate content" being made available through the application.

A Bytedance spokeswoman declined to comment on the app store decisions, but provided a statement on the India situation: "The case is still ongoing to date", the company said. Emails sent to Google, Apple and MeitY did not elicit comments until press time.

"We have removed over 6 million videos that violated our terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of contents generated by our users in India", the company said in the statement.

The move comes after the High Court determined TikTok was encouraging pornography and illicit content.

TikTok users in India who had previously downloaded the app on their phones were still able to use the service on Wednesday.

Tiktok has already been banned in neighbouring Bangladesh and hit with a large fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children.

The company says it has more than 500 million monthly active users around the world.

TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in February. In its defence, TIkTok states that it can't be held liable for the kind of content that "third-parties" upload on the platform.

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

Besides, the ruling in India can pave the path for TikTok's ban and restricted usage anywhere, as the verdict can be used by those who find TikTok as offensive and harmful for young kids. Having said that, the company had recently announced that it had removed videos which were in violation of their guidelines.

The SC will hear the matter again on April 22. After Google, pressure is mounting on Apple to take down the app from the App Store.

"As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order".

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