Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Google, Apple block Chinese app TikTok in India after court order

Google, Apple block Chinese app TikTok in India after court order

The app was still available on Apple's platforms late Tuesday, but was no longer available on Google's Play store in India.

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.

While the ban would prohibit new downloads of the app it would not impact the experience for consumers which already have the app on their devices. The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in February.

The high court's interim order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) which alleged that the app encouraged paedophiles and the content "degraded culture and encouraged pornography". Later, the matter was brought to the Indian Supreme Court where the Tiktok owners argued for a stay on the ban and asserted that it can not be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform.

Refusing to put a stay on its April 3 order, the court also appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as an independent counsel in the case to examine the implications of the app.

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The company had faith in the judicial system and was "optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by" its millions of users in India, he added.

With over 54 million users every month, TikTok allows its users to create and share videos. Bytedance fought the proposal, but was overruled by Supreme Court. Apple and Google did not respond to requests for comment. "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.

"As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order". On Tuesday, the Madras High Court also pushed the hearing to April 24. On 15 April, the apex court fixed April 22 as the next date for hearing.

TikTok also argues that its platform is merely an intermediary under the Information Technology Act and can not be held liable for the actions of third party users on the platform.

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