The ban on TikTok, a popular video app, will hurt free speech rights, says Bytedance Technology Co.
On April 3, the Madras High Court had issued an order prohibiting the download of the TikTok mobile app. The petitioner had highlighted widespread circulation of pornography, exposure of children to disturbing content and their susceptibility to paedophiles, degrading culture, social stigma and medical health issues between teens.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had also restrained the media from telecasting videos made on the app and had asked the Central Government whether it will enact a statute similar to the United States Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Sensor Tower, app analytics firm said TikTok app’s video-only interface makes it easier to use than platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The firm said the app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India.
Moreover, it has become very much popular in rural India. Bytedance’s TikTok app lets users create and share short videos with special effects. The company argues that the ban amounts to curtailing of the rights of citizens of India who have been using the platform every day to express themselves and create content.
Bytedance said users flagged only a tiny proportion of TikTok videos, showing that a very minuscule proportion of its content was considered inappropriate or obscene. It argued that it could not be held liable for content posted by users. Jokes, clips and footage related to India’s movie industry dominate the platform, besides videos in which young people, sometimes scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to music.