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TikTok vanishes from Google Play Store after Madras HC ban, govt order

17 April 2019

The government has asked tech giants Google and Apple to comply with the Madras High Court's order that had banned popular mobile app TikTok, according to sources.

The order was issued by India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and follows an order by the Madras High Court prohibiting the downloading of the app in India. The app was not available in Apple's app store on Wednesday, the report added.

The app has had quite a few run-ins with the law.

The high court's interim order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) which alleged that the app encouraged paedophiles and the content "degraded culture and encouraged pornography".

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, Tiktok app allows users to create short videos and share them.

YourStory reached out to TikTok about MeitY's directive to Google and Apple, and the company refused to comment on the matter.

Having said that, the app is still accessible to the ones who have it downloaded on their phones. They have also claimed that banning or restricting TikTok is a direct attack on the fundamental rights of them, and the users of the app.

TikTok also argues that its platform is merely an intermediary under the Information Technology Act and can not be held liable for the actions of third party users on the platform.

On April 15, SC refused to stay the Madras High Court order on grounds of the issue being still sub-judice.

It had asked the government if it would enact a statute on the line of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in the U.S. and posted the matter for further hearing on April 16. TikTok now has over 120 million monthly active users in India.

On Tuesday, a Madras High Court bench comprising of Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as independent counsel in the case.

Last week, the company said it had removed over 6 million videos that violated its terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by its users in India.

A spokesperson for TikTok said the firm had "faith in the Indian judicial system" and that it was "optimistic about an outcome that would be well received" by its millions of users.

TikTok vanishes from Google Play Store after Madras HC ban, govt order