TikTok ban: Chinese app welcomes Madras HC decision to appoint independent counsel

TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India

TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in India

An Indian court on Tuesday refused a request by China's Bytedance Technology to suspend a ban on its popular video app TikTok, a lawyer involved in the case said, putting the app's future in one of its key markets in doubt.

At the time of writing this article, TikTok was still available in the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

If Google and Apple go forward with the order and de-list TikTok from their app stores, the download numbers are expected to take a huge plunge.

While the app is now not available to download on the Google Play Store, existing users can still use it.

A spokesman for TikTok in India declined to comment on the app's removal resulting from the TikTok ban in India, saying the matter was still in the courts.

The Madras High Court had, in an ex-parte order, prohibited the download and use of the popular mobile video-sharing app. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that it is keeping the issue open for further adjudication and would consider it on April 22. The court had directed the centre to ban it over concerns about access to pornographic content through it.

Google, in an email response to Business Standard, said it does not comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws.

The move, by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), comes after the Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay an earlier order by the Madras High Court to ban the app.

The Chennai case was launched by an activist group which said the app encouraged paedophiles and pornography.

The Madras High Court is scheduled to hear the case on Tuesday, April 16 on the issue of ad-interim orders and pass orders or directions accordingly.

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.

In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.

According to the Economic Times, ByteDance has removed more than six million videos that violated its terms of use and community guidelines, following a review of the content generated by its users in India.

"The said ban, if not lifted immediately, shall cause severe prejudice and irreparable harm to the Petitioner Company and result in competitors gaining a significant and potentially irreversible advantage over the petitioner company".

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