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Ban TikTok, Madras High Court asks Centre; company promises ‘appropriate action’

Madras High Court asked the central government to ban TikTok saying it was “encouraging pornography.” Responding to the court order, TikTok promised it will take “appropriate action.”

tech Updated: Apr 05, 2019 11:00 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
TikTok ban,TikTok india,Bytedance
“Inappropriate” content was TikTok’s “dangerous aspect”, the court said(REUTERS)

TikTok said it will abide by local laws and regulations and will take action against misuse after the Madras High Court asked the federal government to ban the social networking platform for “encouraging pornography”.

“At TikTok, we are committed to abiding by local laws and regulations. We fully comply with the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are currently awaiting the official order by the Honourable High Court of Madras and once received, we will review and take appropriate action regarding this matter,” said TikTok in a statement.

“Maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment at TikTok is our priority. We have robust measures to protect users against misuse, protect their privacy and digital wellbeing. This includes easy reporting mechanisms that enable users and law enforcement to report content that violates our terms of use and comprehensive Community Guidelines. In order to better coordinate with law enforcement agencies, we have appointed a Chief Nodal Officer based out of India,” it added.

The Madras High Court, which has been hearing a public interest litigation against the app, on Wednesday said children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.

Watch: Madras HC asks Centre to ban TikTok, company promises ‘appropriate action’

“Inappropriate” content was TikTok’s “dangerous aspect”, the court said in an order seen by Reuters, adding that “there is a possibility of the children contacting strangers directly”.

Created by Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. It has become hugely popular in rural India. TikTok has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Jokes, clips and footage related to India’s thriving movie industry dominate the platform, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.

Also read: As TikTok videos take hold with teens, parents scramble to keep up

Controversies

Earlier this year, IT minister of Tamil Nadu M Manikandan described some of the content on TikTok as “unbearable.” He also claimed that the application was pushing youngsters to the path of cultural degeneration.

BJP’s chief of information technology, Amit Malviya, however, said the party was tracking TikTok conversations and called it “a brilliant medium for creative expression.”

TikTok has been criticised in the US for exposing young girls to caustic comments and other potential abuse by their peers.

Last year, the Indonesian government banned TikTok after over 170,000 people signed a petition saying the platform wasn’t suitable for kids. The ban, however, was lifted after TikTok representatives promised to weed out inappropriate content.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published: Apr 04, 2019 09:54 IST