Google and Apple remove TikTok from their App Stores following court orders
China’s Bytedance Technology’s hugely popular video app, TikTok has been removed from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store in India following a local court’s decision. However, users who have already installed the TikTok app on their devices can continue to use the service.
For those unaware, the Madras High Court on April 3 had directed the government to ban downloading of the video-sharing mobile app, TikTok, as it exposed children to illicit content bordering on nudity, obscenity, including pornography. However, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, argued for a stay on banning the app saying it is causing irreparable damage to the company. ByteDance had earlier challenged the state court’s order in India’s apex Supreme Court.
In its hearing on Tuesday (April 16), the Madras High Court refused to suspend the ban on future downloads of TikTok app in India and the Supreme Court too refused to stay the ban. Following the order, the Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) directed Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. to remove TikTok from their App stores. The court also restricted media houses from telecasting videos made using the TikTok app.
“It is evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate contents are made available in this kind of cyber applications. The children are exposed to strangers and there is a possibility of the photographs, and other private details of the children are being landed in the hands of predators or third parties,” the bench hearing the case said.
Responding to the Madras High Court, TikTok said, “We have faith in the Indian judicial system and we are optimistic about an outcome that would allow over 120 million monthly active users in India to continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture the moments that matter in their everyday lives. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.”
Last week, ByteDance-owned TikTok had removed six million videos from its platform that violated user agreements and community guidelines. It also introduced an age limit feature for new users, that allows only those aged 13 and above to login and create an account.
The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing of the case again on April 22, where ByteDance can make a point as to why the ban should be withdrawn.