‘Tiktok on the clock.. but the party doesn’t stop’. Eh? But, sadly the download for Tiktok India has been ‘stopped’ by Google Play Store and Apple Store. The media app for creating and sharing short lip-syncing videos has been banned in India. This all occurred after a complaint was filed calling for its ban. And Madras High Court requesting the government to ban the Chinese app. Following this, the Indian Government asked the tech giants Google Play Store and App Store to take down the Chinese app. Soon after the Madras High Court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material.
The title might have startled some of you. But, you might be relieved if I say you can still access your Tiktok if you have it downloaded already. Tiktok hasn’t been banned in India yet. But it has been taken down from the Android and iPhone app stores as per the order of the Indian Government.
Tiktok, formerly known as Musical.ly, gained enormous popularity in a short span of time. People became overnight Tiktok stars, gained millions of views in their videos. They even earned many followers in some cases. The Tiktok videos got widely circulated on other social media platforms too.
What is the Court’s reason to ban Tiktok in India?
The complaint filed by the Madras High Court presents a list of its reason for the ban. It includes:
- Concerns over the availability of pornographic contents on Tiktok’Exposing children to sexual predators,
- Violation of privacy,
- People being made a subject to pranks, and
- Its addictive tendency among young generations.
The Madras Court also stated that ” The future of the young generation and the mindset of children are spoiled. Mainly due to the addiction to Tiktok and similar app, and also other cyber games.
What does ByteDance have to say about this?
The developer of Tiktok, ByteDance argued that a very little amount of content ( 0.0006% to be precise) is marked as inappropriate content by the users. The rest of the content is legitimate. If this is the case, then this statement should be taken into account while imposing a ban on the app.
Controversies Tiktok Got Into
However, there were some fundamental shortcomings that might have led to this ban. Unfortunately, this is the first time it has officially been taken down from the app stores. Mentioned below are some controversies that might have blacklisted Tiktok. It also resulted in its ban for downloads.
1.Access To Pornography:
The Madras High Court had asked the Central Government to take some legal action against the Tiktok app. It is mainly due to the concerns over inappropriate content sharing. The court stated that the users could access pornographic content through the app.
Even though the App content policies forbid any pornographic content or nudity. The users could post any kind of content they want with little or no moderation at all. The app lacked due to inadequate security checks. People even had concerns over sharing child pornography contents as there are no strong content checks done by the app. This might be one of the drawbacks.
2.Life at risk:
There are several death cases we hear every now and then on the news which is a result of Tiktok videos. People risk their lives in order to create a perfect Tiktok video. This is not something to blame Tiktok for. But, Tiktok has influenced people to a point that they don’t think twice before taking risks.
There was a case in Delhi, India where a 19-years old was shot dead while reportedly trying to film a Tiktok video. The boy named Salman, along with his friends had gone on a drive to India Gate. While returning, his friend, who was sitting next to him and driving the car, took out a pistol. He aimed the pistol at Salman while trying to shoot a Tiktok video, but the pistol went off shooting Salman on the cheek.
The Madras Court also showed concerns over the use of weapons and violence in some of the Tiktok videos. As reported, there are some underage children with Tiktok accounts that watch and even post such videos. One shortcoming of Tiktok is its lack of security checks. The app didn’t strictly check upon the age limit policy of the app.
4.Cyber Bullying and Harassment:
Tiktok app allows its users to comment on other’s videos. This is also the reason for many Tiktok users getting trolled and bullied. When people get access to the comment sections, there are more negative comments than positive ones.
There are many users that are under constant trolling and bullying. With people making comments about their body, sexuality. Some of them even go to the extent of being abusive.
Tiktok was also being used by some political parties to spread political agendas. Tiktok is an app with many young registered users. So, political parties use this platform to propagate different political agendas. Their primary mission is to influence and impress young Tiktok users.
There are hundreds of Tiktok videos approving distinct political ideologies. All kinds of political Tiktok videos are available in the app. Those including people lip-syncing to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s speeches.
Tiktok Bans that We’re Unaware Of
The Tiktok app was banned in Bangladesh in February 2018. As a part of the Government’s movement against online pornography. Following this, in the same month, the US Federal Trade Commission ordered the developers of Tiktok to pay a fine of $5.7 million. Since they have failed to get parental consent for underage users, under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Likewise, in July 2018, Indonesian authorities banned the Tiktok app. For having pornographic, inappropriate content and blasphemy. However, the Indonesian authorities unblocked the app the next week. Soon after the Tiktok officials accepted to censor ‘negative contents’. As stated by the Indonesian Government.
Will the Tiktok ban in India really solve the problem?
While we can understand what the Indian government wants to imply. Banning is a short-sighted way to look at this scenario. The least the Indian government can do now is ask the Tiktok developers to improve the surveillance on the Tiktok app. And look out for those videos that violate the community guidelines. This might be the only option if the app wants to function in India.
CONCLUSION: The Tiktok ban has become a top trend on Twitter lately. There are a few people supporting the ban saying it should have been done a long time ago. Whereas some people also said that the Court should have tried to make more secure by having proper security checks from time to time.
There are many loopholes to this ban. The orders of the ban in India doesn’t affect the 120 million users in the country. One who have already the app downloaded. Or those on Android devices who might download it from a source outside of the Google Play Store. But, it is a strong strike against Tiktok that will affect its growth and harm its reputation. And most probably will raise further sanctions or fines against the app.