Friday, 19 April, 2019

Google, Apple asked to comply with Madras HC’s TikTok ban order

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Deanna Wagner | 17 April, 2019, 13:31

Hours after the court refused China-based Bytedance Technology's request to suspend the ban, Google blocked access to the app in India. The court also prohibited the media from telecasting the videos made using TikTok. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to stay the order.

TikTok was the third most installed app globally during Q1across the App Store and Google Play, the same rank it held during the previous quarter, according to Sensor Tower, a market analysis firm.

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".

Users that don't already have the app will no longer be able to download it. The court ruling restricts future downloads of the app in India, not existing users, said one of the people familiar with the decision, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. 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.

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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Now, the app has been taken down from the Google Play Store, while iOS users can still download the popular app from the Apple App Store. Further, the SC ordered that the case will be heard again on April 22, to account for the latest Madras High Court order from April 16.

As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order. In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content.

TikTok also said that to date, "we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of contents generated by our users in India".

Salman Waris, a technology lawyer at TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors, said the legal action against Bytedance could set a precedent of Indian courts intervening to regulate content on social media and other digital platforms.