The interim ban that was placed on Chinese video-sharing app TikTok has been lifted by the Madras High Court, however, certain conditions have to be complied with by the company for this. The popular video sharing app claims to have more than 54 million active users in the country.
The case against TikTok was filed by advocate Muthukumar and the court has now decided to lift the ban on the app provided pornographic content will not be uploaded on its platform. In case TikTok fails to comply with this, proceedings would begin again.
We should mention that on April 3, the court had directed the central government to ban the download the TikTok app in India because of concerns related to ‘pornographic’ content. It is also worth adding that when TikTok approached the Supreme Court of India, it refused to stay the interim order on the grounds that it was temporary and still being heard at the Madras High Court. After the government passed the order, TikTok was taken off from Google Play Store as well as Apple’s App Store on April 18.
It is also worth noticing that the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which is currently hearing a petition that says that TikTok “degrades culture and encourages pornography” had earlier said that children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to be exposed to sexual predators via the platform. The inappropriate content on TikTok is a dangerous aspect of the app, according to the High Court.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance challenged the High Court order with a petition to the Supreme Court that said that the interim order was passed without hearing them and that restriction like these would pose a threat to free speech.
The company also said that users on TikTok only flagged a tiny portion of the videos on the platform, and according to it, this goes to show that a “very minuscule” portion of its content can be considered objectionable.
According to ByteDance, it has suffered a financial loss of up to $500,000 (approximately Rs 3.5 crores) a day and because of the ban, more than 250 jobs are at risk. The company has also added that the ban would harm its reputation and goodwill among advertisers and investors.
TikTok lets users create short videos with special effects and then share them with everyone. In February 2019, TikTok reached the one billion download mark.
Speaking about the ban being lifted, TikTok said in a statement, “We are glad about this decision and we believe it is also greatly welcomed by our thriving community in India, who use TikTok as a platform to showcase their creativity. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our users better. While we’re pleased that our efforts to fight against misuse of the platform has been recognized, the work is never “done” on our end. We are committed to continuously enhancing our safety features as a testament to our ongoing commitment to our users in India.”
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