Tiktok Ban Lifted In India: Madras High Court Passes Order

Probably the best news any Tiktok fans will hear today. Yes! Popular short-video making app Tiktok is now legal, again! Madras High Court has finally lifted the ban on Tiktok downloads in India. A nearly three-week-long ban in India on this app is now reversed. according to the officials of this case. Google and Apple had reportedly removed the app from their stores in India. Three weeks ago after Madras High Court, a high court in Tamil Nadu called for its removal. The verdict stated Tiktok was exposing children to sexual predators and pornographic contents. However, it must be noted that the ban only prevented potential new users from trying it. Since the old users who are registered could continue using it.

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The ban applied in India was a major setback for the Tiktok app. The app has the largest Indian user base with nearly 300 million users alone in India. ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the video creating app Tiktok, claims to have lost nearly $500,000 per day. And even risked 250 jobs due to the interim ban on Tiktok.

The Madras High Court agreed to lift the ban on Tiktok on Wednesday. But there’s a condition that the platform must not be used to post explicit videos in any way. The Tiktok’s developers said in a statement that the company’s effort to fight against misuse of the platform has been recognized. The developers also stated that the work on their end is never done. They are committed to constantly enhance the safety measures as a testament to their ongoing commitment to users in India.

As soon as the decision was made public, many people were happy and celebrated now that the ban was lifted. On the other hand, many people took to Twitter to regret the Court’s decision. They even came up with memes to express feelings from both sides. As reported, Twitter was filled with mixed emotions after the news was made public. While this is definitely all good news for ByteDance, its parent company, and the Tiktok fans. Some of these posts below tell us how happy some people are and some tell us not everyone is happy about this news.

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Translation: Just want to be rich enough so that I can buy Tiktok and then delete it.
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Translation: No! Really? I don’t believe.

How did all of this happen?

On 22 April 2019, there was another hearing at the Supreme Court regarding the ban of Tiktok in India. Earlier, the court directed the government to issue a temporary ban on the app in India. It led Google and Apple to remove Tiktok from their respective app stores for India.

What did the Supreme Court direct?

The Supreme Court said that the Madras High Court should take a final decision on the interim ban by April 24. Failing to do so will lift the ban automatically. This means the app will be available or download on the Google Play Store and Apple Store.

ByteDance’s Statement in its defense:

As per ByteDance, the ban was made effective by the Madras High Court without hearing their side of the story. And they said restrictions like this will pose a threat to the ‘right to free speech.’ The company even mentioned Section 2 (w) of the IT Act that states any mobile platform is an intermediary. And cannot be liable for the actions of third parties on their platform. It also shines a light on Section 79 of the IT Act which gives protection to intermediaries.

ByteDance claims to have had only 0.00006% of explicit content marked inappropriate by the users. In addition to this, the company has already removed almost 60 million explicit videos last year under the guidelines of the platform. It has also maintained the app’s terms and conditions with the criteria of age above 13 years.

What made Madras High Court Lift the Ban?

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According to the case officials, the hearing went on for the whole day on April 24, 2019. Arguments and counter-arguments were presented to the Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar. There are three primary arguments that resulted in the lifting of the ban.

  1. Senior Advocate Isaac Mohanlal briefed the Supreme Court that Tiktok has an AI technology. So it can figure out if the content being posted is explicit or not. This piece of information was even mentioned in the affidavit by Tiktok.
  2. Earlier this week, Tiktok filed an affidavit stating the court that the developers resolved all the obligations mentioned by the Madras High Court during their verdict on April 3.
  3. Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, who was Amicus Curiae enlightened the Court that Article (1) of the constitution protects the free speech of an individual. He even focused on the Intermediary guidelines under the InformationTechnology Act. He logically argued that anything which is legally acceptable cannot be judicially unacceptable. He added that the ban will affect 120 million users as well.
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CONCLUSION: The main thing here is that the ban is no more and new users will be able to download the app on Google Play Store and Apple Store. Now that the three weeks long ban is finally over, Tiktok fans are celebrating this moment. However, there has been a lot of negative reactions to this as well. The article will be updated as we receive more information.

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