Apple Removes Video Sharing App TikTok From Indian App Store to Comply With State Demand

Wednesday April 17, 2019 3:06 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

Apple has removed TikTok from its App Store in India to comply with a government demand to block downloads of the video sharing app over child safety concerns.


TikTok, developed by China-based Bytedance Technology, lets users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, a formula that has proved a huge hit in India. The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country, according to a report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower in February.

However, on April 3 a court in southern Tamil Nadu state asked the federal Indian government to ban the app on grounds that it encouraged pornography, and warned that sexual predators could target child users. Citing an IT ministry official, Reuters reports that the federal government sent a letter to Apple and Google requesting that the companies abide by the state court's order by pulling TikTok from their respective app stores.

As of this morning, the title is no longer available for download on either platform in the country. In a statement, Google didn't mention the app by name but said it complied with all local state laws. Apple has yet to comment.

Last week, Bytedance challenged the ban order in India's Supreme Court, arguing that it went against freedom of speech rights in India, but when the case was referred back to the state court a judge rejected the request to put the ban order on hold. Bytedance has been asked to give written submissions in the case, which is scheduled to have its next hearing on April 24.

This isn't the first time a country has taken action against TikTok. In February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the app's developers $5.7 million to settle allegations of child privacy law violations, after TikTok was accused of collecting personal data from users under the age of 13 without seeking parental consent.

Tag: India

Top Rated Comments

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13 months ago
I don't even know what Tiktok is but banning a social media app "for the children" is a horrible idea.

Parents should keep track of what their kids do online, and, you know, parent.

The rest of us who use an app shouldn't have to suffer because of bad parenting. What's next, YouTube? Plenty of disturbing stuff there too!

It seems authoritarianism is starting to grow in the world, with governments doing more and more to regulate your life. This is a dangerous slope.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

How does this app vary from Apple's own Clips app, and the multitude of similar video creation tools?


Clips isn't a social network and doesn't (actively) promote idiots.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 months ago
India taking out the trash
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 months ago

I will challenge that this has the *potential* to set a dangerous precedent. EVERY app *could* be used for nefarious purposes. Most probably HAVE. This includes email, messaging, file sharing, websites, etc. When we start banning an app because it MIGHT be used in a particular way, or even if a small number of people DID, we end up blocking apps that are also used used for good. What happens if/when 'think of the children' comes after those other apps?

Note: Yes, I care about the children and want them protected. I just see the first layer of protection as belonging to the parents. I suggest that Apple, Google, etc. having better parental controls is a more effective solution than individually blocking apps.

For the past 20 years or so, the definition of a parent has changed to simply: "Person who feeds and cares for a child's basic needs."

Education and guidance has been delegated to third parties.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

Is this any different from musically and other similar apps?


Musically is actually TikTok. It was renamed few months ago.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
India doing everything in their power to make T-Series their only music platform.

Who removed "subscribe to pewdiepie" from my comment? Without any notice?!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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