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TikTok ban: how things spiralled for the Chinese app, leading to its ban in India

With rising popularity, TikTok has found itself at the centre of a heated debate, especially over the ‘pornographic’ and ‘sleazy’ content shared through the platform.

Sutrishna Ghosh
24th Apr 2019
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The fact that Chinese app TikTok enjoys a massive popularity among active netizens is no surprise. Of its 500 million users around the world, India counts for more than 100 million alone. With its rising popularity, however, the video-sharing app has found itself at the centre of a heated debate, especially over the ‘pornographic’ and ‘sleazy’ content shared on the platform.  



Also Read: TikTok in India: Does the ban on Chinese video app stay? Here's what the Supreme Court has to say



It has been reported that the platform, owned by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance, has become a fertile ground for paedophiles and even cyberbullying in many countries. As similar reports surfaced closer to home, the Tamil Nadu state government became the first one to initiate talks of issuing a ban on it.


The reports soon found a stronger voice across the country, leading to the events of April 3, when  the Madras High Court passed a interim order banning the app’s download in India. As of today, April 24, the HC is to hear a plea filed by ByteDance with regards to the interim ban on TikTok.


YourStory will be updating you as and when the fate of the wildly-popular app is decided in India. Meanwhile, here is a lowdown of all the events that have taken place since Madras High Court’s ban on TikTok.


April 3 - Ban on TikTok


Madras High Court passes an interim directive to ban TikTok in India.


April 5 - TikTok's parent ByteDance moves to the Supreme Court


Parent company ByteDance moves Supreme Court, petitioning for a stay order on the HC's directive.


A few days later, ByteDance requests the Supreme Court to take an urgent listing of the hearing.


April 15 - SC refuses TikTok's plea on the ban


The Supreme Court refuses TikTok’s plea to stay Madras High Court’s directive on the ban.


The apex court in India sets the hearing on the case for April 22 after the Madras High Court hears the case on April 16 .  


At the time, TikTok issued the following statement:


“As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court today, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex-parte ad interim order. The Supreme Court has listed the matter again for April 22, 2019, to be apprised of the outcome of the hearing on the April 16th, 2019 before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India. In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India."



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



April 16 - Madras High Court appoints independent counsel to look into the matter


Madras HC appoints Arvind Datar as amicus curiae (independent counsel) to the court in the case involving its ban in India.


HC pushes the hearing to April 24.


YourStory received the following statement from TikTok:


“We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curiae (independent counsel) to the court. We have faith in the Indian judicial system and 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.”


April 22 - SC directs Madras High Court to pass an interim order on the ban of TikTok ByteDance


The Supreme Court directs Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court to hear a plea filed by ByteDance latest by April 24. Failing to do so, the SC adds, the ex-parte stay order of the High Court shall stand vacated.


April 24 - Madras High Court to hear the TikTok's plea against its interim ban


Madras High Court's Madurai Bench set to hear the plea filed by ByteDance against the interim ban.


YourStory has reached out to the company, and we will update the story as per their response.  



Also Read: Google, Apple block Chinese video app TikTok from app stores in India

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