Madras High Court on Wednesday asked the central government to prohibit Chinese video app TikTok, saying it was “encouraging pornography”. Created by Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. It has become hugely popular in rural India. TikTok has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Jokes, clips and footage related to India’s movie industry dominate the platform, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.
Earlier this year, IT minister of Tamil Nadu described some of the content on TikTok as “unbearable.” He also claimed that the application was pushing youngsters to the path of cultural degeneration.
Also in February, the BJP’s chief of information technology, Amit Malviya, said the party was tracking TikTok conversations and called it “a brilliant medium for creative expression”.
The Madras High Court, which has been hearing a public interest litigation against the app, on Wednesday said children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.
A TikTok presenter told Reuters the company was committed to abiding by local laws and regulations. “Maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment is our priority,” he said.