The interim ban on Chinese-owned TikTok video app has been lifted by the Madras High Court, subject to certain conditions. The video app claims to have more than 54 million active users in India.
Deciding the case filed by advocate Muthukumar, the bench vacated its interim order banning the app, subject to conditions that pornographic videos will not be uploaded on it, failing with the contempt of court proceedings would begin.
On April 3, the Madras High Court had directed the centre to ban the download of the TikTok app in India over concerns over “pornographic” content. The top court had earlier refused to stay the Madras High Court interim order on grounds that it is temporary and the matter is still being heard at the high court. Following the government order, TikTok was blocked on the App Store and Google Play Store since 18 April.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which is hearing another petition that alleges the app “degrades culture and encourages pornography“, had earlier said children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.
TikTok’s inappropriate content was a dangerous aspect of the app, the high court had said.
Challenging the high court order on TikTok, Chinese company ByteDance which owns TikTok, in its petition, had told the Supreme Court that the interim order was passed without hearing them and such restrictions will “hurt free speech”.
The TikTok developer also said that users flagged only a tiny proportion of TikTok videos, showing that a “very minuscule” proportion of its content was considered inappropriate.
ByteDance has pegged financial losses of up to $500,000 (roughly Rs. 3.5 crores) a day and said that ban has put more than 250 jobs at risk. It also added the ban would result in its reputation and goodwill taking a hit with both advertisers and investors.
TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
TikTok was launched in 2019. Using this app, users can create and share short videos with special effects. TikTok reached the one billion download mark in February.