Apple And Google Removes Video App TikTok In India At Government's Behest

TikTok India
The logo of the TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen (Photo: Reuters)

After a reported request from the Indian government, both Apple and Google have now removed the video-sharing app, TikTok, from their respective app stores. The app, which has more than a half a billion users around the world, is unavailable to download in India as of this week.

The move was preceded by a series of legal actions, which resulted in Indian courts deciding to take action in blocking the app for allegedly exposing minors to inappropriate content.

According to reports citing sources familiar with the matter, Google had removed the app from its Google Play Store on Tuesday. Apple followed suit and removed the app from its Apple App Store not long after. Indian users who still have the app installed on their Android or iOS smartphones will still have access to the short video platform. Newer users will unfortunately not be able to download it anymore.

Due to its removal, TikTok's Chinese owner Bytedance stands to lose quite a lot of potential new users in the country. The ban prevents any further expansion of the app, which is estimated to have tens of millions of existing users in India.

A high court in Madras, a city in the southern part of India, had reportedly sent the request to Apple and Google earlier in the month. The court apparently saw enough evidence that showed how the app had exposed children to pornographic content, cyberbullying, and sexual exploitation. ByteDance has already filed an appeal against the ruling and a court hearing is set to be held sometime next week.

In a statement released by the Beijing-based tech company, ByteDance explained that it still had faith in India's judicial system, which it hoped would overturn the decision for the sake of the app's millions of fans in the country. TikTok has a huge following in the country and had become immensely popular with its youth. As of the moment, Indian users account for nearly a quarter of the app's global user base.

Apart from TikTok, the Indian government has recently been increasing its scrutiny on multiple social media apps; including Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

Different regulators are now investigating allegations of inappropriate content and the spread of fake news in the various platforms. India has recently become a very lucrative marketplace for social media and other online apps, given that it has around 500 million people online each day. The market is also still largely untapped, as there are an estimated 800 million more potential users who could have access to the internet in the coming years.

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