Tik Tok, a social media app owned by the Chinese company Byte Dance was first introduced in China 2016. Tik Tok could gain acceptance globally in a short span of time. The app was downloaded more than 240 million times in India. More than 30 million users downloaded the app in January 2019 alone which is 12 times more than the same month last year.
Tik Tok already has 250 employees in India and was on the plan for expanding their business to meet the high demand, but things went out of hands for Tik Tok as the Indian Government decided to ban the app across the country. The Supreme Court has already issued the order to ban the app and Google has immediately removed the app from play store. The central government has already issued orders to Google and Apple to remove the app from the respective stores a.s.a.p. The existing users can still use the app and this will be relieving news for Tik Tok lovers who have huge fan followers.
The ban on the app was issued by the Madras High Court Madhura Bench which comprised of Justice N Kripakaran and S S Sundar. The petitioner for the ban of Tik Tok is Muthukumar, a social worker and lawyer from Madhura. The petitioner brought to the court’s attention that over the last few months, crime is on a high and Tik Tok has a role in it. Also, he added that countries like the US and Indonesia have put a constraint on the app to protect the citizens’ privacy and that India should follow their footsteps in this regard.
Tik Tok turned into a ruckus platform after the invasion of unethical users who uploaded videos with sex, drugs, child pornography, vulgar contents, etc. Tik Tok has a majority of children as its users and making the issue serious which need to be curbed down soon. The Government considers this a threat to the country. Tik Tok has the ability to personalize a particular user’s feed according to their interest, by screening their viewing history. This is a serious issue because children too fall under the category of sensitive Tik Tok does not ask for parental consent for children under-age which is another drawback associated with it.
Tik Tok was in news for their unacceptable challenges put forth to the users like the ‘Kiki’ challenge. Such challenges had too much risk involved and globally police department had issued order urging the users to restrain themselves from doing such challenges. The 15-second videos that the users uploaded in Tik Tok ranged from cute kids videos and inspiring videos to negative and unacceptable content videos.
The localization of Tik Tok in terms of languages makes it dearly to the users, however, privacy policies are not in localized language makes it skeptical. In addition, the leakage of Indian data to Chinese companies another factor that the government finds disturbing. Permission to access location, contact, and video-audio record are also threats to users of the app and this may be most vulnerable, especially to children.
There have been various issues and concerns raised by various countries with Tik Tok in the past that has led to the temporary ban on the app. Tik Tok had to face a legal challenge in Hong Kong with reference to children’s security earlier. Tik Tok authorities have already declared that they will not be able to protect the privacy of all the users who come across the app.
Till date, Tik Tok had removed over 6 million videos from its platform that violated its ‘Terms and Conditions’, following a review of the content generated by the users in India. On April 16, 2019 (Tuesday), Tik Tok said that they are expecting the 120 million users to continue using their platform. However, they have not commented on Google and Apple removing the app from their respective play stores. Social media are flooding with mixed reviews from the users and non-users of the app.