TikTok’s parent Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. headquarters stands in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)  

Madras High Court Orders Central Government To Ban TikTok App

The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to ban mobile application 'TikTok' as it voiced concern that "pornographic and inappropriate contents" were made available through such apps.

A bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar ordered media not to telecast video clips made with TikTok. The app allows users to create short videos and then share them.

The bench asked the government if it would enact a statute like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in the U.S. and posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.

It passed the interim order Wednesday on a public interest litigation petition which sought to ban TikTok app on ground that it allegedly contained contents that "degraded culture and encouraged pornography".

Also read: Inside the World of Hindutva Videos on Tik Tok

Even after the havoc caused by Blue whale online game, which reportedly led to suicides of several people, officials had not learnt that they should be alert to these types of problems, the bench said.

Only when the officials and policy makers were able to act on the problems of society, decision could be taken to prevent these kind of apps, it said.

“People are making cruel humour against innocent third parties. Even TV channels are telecasting such TikTok videos which should be prohibited,” the judges said. Voicing concern, they said it was evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.

"Children are exposed to strangers and there is a possibility of their photograph and private details getting landed in the hands of predators or third parties," the bench said.

The Personal Interest Litigation alleged that the TikTok app from Chinese company Byte Dance encouraged paedophiles and the contents were very disturbing. It had over 100 million users all over the world and scores of youngsters in India were also using it.

Stating that Indonesia and Bangladesh have already banned the app, the PIL said children who used the mobile application were vulnerable and may get exposed to sexual predators.

The petitioner also sought an act like the Children Online Privacy Protection Act in force in the U.S. to prevent youngsters from becoming victims of cyber crime.

Also read: TikTok Hit With $5.7 Million Fine Over Child Privacy