TikTok goes missing from Google, Apple app stores in India after ban

Sergio Conner
April 17, 2019

Following the directions from India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Apple has removed Chinese video sharing application TikTok from its App Store.

On April 3, The Madras high court had asked the Centre to ban TikTok across the country, saying it encouraged obscenity and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators.

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

This means that no new user will be able to access TikTok app now, as it won't be available for download. At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

The app has had quite a few run-ins with the law.

In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.

At time of writing, Apple has not pulled TikTok from its App Store in India.

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Having said that, the app is still accessible to the ones who have it downloaded on their phones.

This development comes right after the Madras High Court's hearing on April 16 where it has refused to suspend the ban on TikTok.

In addition to ordering Google and Apple to make the app unavailable for downloading, the court also ordered media houses to stop telecasting videos made using the TikTok app.

The state court has requested written submissions from Bytedance in the case and has scheduled its next hearing on the TikTok ban case for April 24. Its user base in India accounts for 39% of the 500 Mn global install base. On its part, TikTok has said that it's not liable to be punished for what "third parties" do.

The app, which lets users create short, fun videos, has come under fire for allegedly allowing "pornographic" and "sleazy" content to propagate, especially among its younger audience. "Strict action needs to be taken against people publishing such content instead of asking for a blanket ban on apps".

TikTok, in a statement, welcomed the Madras High Court's decision to appoint Arvind Datar independent counsel to assist the court in assessing the impact of the mobile application.

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