TikTok is no longer available in Google, Apple app stores

NEW DELHI: The Chinese video app TikTok is no longer available on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store in India.

The app was still available until Tuesday, April 16 but now a search for video sharing platform TikTok on tech giants’s Play Store did not show the app.

The government on Tuesday ordered Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned TikTok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material, sources told news agency AFP.

Owned by ByteDance, a Chinese Internet technology company based in Beijing, The app claims to have 500 million users worldwide with more than 120 million in the country, has been fighting the effort to shut it down after the Chennai High Court called for the ban on April 3.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had asked Google and Apple to block the app following the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay the original Madras HC court order on April 3.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday refused to lift the ban on TikTok and set April 24 the next hearing date.

A Google spokesperson told IANS: “As a policy, we don’t comment on individual apps but adhere to the law in countries we operate in.”

TikTok said in a statement that the company has faith in the Indian judicial system.

“We are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India, who continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere, for now, with the Madras High Court’s order banning Chinese video app TikTok, and directed further hearing in the matter on April 22.

Expressing concern over the “pornographic and inappropriate” contents of the TikTok, the High Court had, on April 3, directed the Centre to ban the app.

The ban order came after the court noted that children were being exposed to pornographic and inappropriate material.

TikTok has already been banned in Bangladesh and hit with an enormous fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children. The US Federal Trade Commission said a $5.7 million fine ordered against TikTok was the largest imposed in a child privacy investigation.

The social network failed to obtain parental consent from underage users as required by the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, FTC officials said.

Industry sources said the information technology ministry has now sent out an order to tech giants Google and Apple to remove the app from their online stores. Neither of the US companies would comment.

With short videos of up to 15 seconds, TikTok has become a major rival to Facebook, Instagram and other social network sites among teenaged smartphone users in the past year.

The company said the measures were to “reinforce our ongoing commitment to ensure that our platform remains a safe and positive space for our Indian users.”

[source_without_link]AFP inputs[/source_without_link]