‘TikTok Ban Will Hurt Free Speech’: App’s Owner to Supreme Court

30

ByteDance, the Chinese tech company behind the mega-viral TikTok app has said the Madras High Court’s call to ban the app is an infringement of free speech rights.

According to a report by Reuters, the company filed a request to the Supreme Court to stop the directive saying the ban would “amount to the curtailing of the rights of the citizens of India…who have been using the platform everyday to express themselves and create content.”

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on Monday, 15 April.

Madras HC Imposed Ban on TikTok as it ‘Encouraged Pornography, Spoiled Indian Youth’

On 3 April, the Madras High Court has asked the Centre to ban the Chinese video mobile application TikTok, saying it “encourages pornography” and is spoiling the future of youths and minds of children, reported IANS.

On the same day, the Madurai Bench of the High Court also issued an interim order to the Central government banning downloading of the app in India and restricted the media from telecasting videos taken using the app.

According to the IANS report, the Madras High Court posed a query to the government asking whether the government will enact a statue, like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act enacted by the US government, in order to prevent children becoming online victims.

With a global user base of over one billion users, TikTok has over 50 million users in India.The app is very popular in India, especially among teenagers. In January, 43 percent of the app’s new users were from India, compared to just 9.5 percent in January of 2018, said Sensor Tower founder Oliver Yeh in a recent blog post.

Conflicting Positions on App by Politicians

Reuters reported that M Manikandan, Tamil Nadu’s IT minister, said that some of the app’s suggestive content was “unbearable.” Additionally, a Hindu nationalist group close to the BJP also called for its ban.

In February, however, Amit Malviya, the BJP’s chief of information technology, defended the app.