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TikTok Ban : Google Blocks App After Madras HC Refused To Lift Ban

Live Law News Network
17 April 2019 1:28 AM GMT
TikTok Ban : Google Blocks App After Madras HC Refused To Lift Ban
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Google has blocked access to Chinese video app 'TikTok' in its play store after the Madras High Court yesterday refused to lift the ex-parte ban imposed on it on April 3, reported Reuters.

The app is therefore not available for download from Google playstore now.

Yesterday, the Madras High Court did not accept the request of the Bytedance Technology Pvt Ltd - the Indian operator and marketer of the app- to suspend the ban. The bench of Justices Kirubakaran and S S Sundar appointed Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar as amicus curiae to assist the Court and posted the matter to April 24 for further hearing.

While acting on a PIL by an advocate seeking ban of the app, the High Court had on April 3 directed the state authorities to prohibit downloading of TikTok Mobile Application and prohibited media from telecasting the videos made using the app. The Court said that the app was "inappropriate" for children and exposed them to several dangers.

"The dangerous aspect is that inappropriate contents including language and pornography being posted in the TikTok App. There is a possibility of children contacting strangers directly and luring them. Without understanding the dangers involved in these kinds of Mobile Apps, it is unfortunate that are our children are testing with these Apps".

Against this, Bytedance approach the Supreme Court, contending that the order was passed without hearing them. It further argued that the mobile platform is an intermediary as per Section 2(w) of the Information Technology Act, and that it cannot be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform. The app-operator relied on Section 79 of the IT Act which provides protection to intermediaries.

Bytedance said that the app is for circulation of "fun" and "amusing" videos, and posed no threat to life, liberty and security of an individual. Only a minuscule percentage of videos - 0.0006 %- is flagged as inappropriate by users, and an overwhelming majority of persons are using it legitimately for personal entertainment and expression, stated the app operator in its petition in SC.

However, the SC on Monday did not stay the Madras HC's order, and asked the HC to hear the objections of Bytedance on April 16. 

The SC then posted the matter to April 22.

TikTok, which allows users to create and share short videos with special effects, has become hugely popular in India.  It had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in February. More than 30 million users in India installed it in January 2019, 12 times more than in the same month last year.

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