India bans TikTok as tensions with China escalate

A garment vendor in New Delhi holding up a Tik Tok T-shirt yesterday. Of the Chinese apps India has banned Tik Tok is the most popular with about 200 million active users in the country. The move could affect how millions of Indians work and play

Indian government bans 59 Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok

The apps "are engaged in activities. prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order", it said, calling the ban "a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace".

India's decision comes as its troops are involved in a tense standoff with Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh in the Himalayas that started last month.

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Amid rising tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre on Monday (June 29) banned 59 Chinese mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and Cam Scanner among others. In recent years, India has emerged as "a primary market in the digital space", the ministry explained, and the rapid growth prompted "raging concerns" about safeguarding the privacy of Indians. At the moment, Vigo Video is still available on the app stores, alongside apps like AliBaba Group's UC Browser and UC News, Bigo Technologies' Likee, Xiaomi's Mi Community and more, which are all on the government's list. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.

For several users, searching for TikTok on the Google Play leads to results that are showing either some clone apps or apps to download TikTok videos from unpopular developers. The data has been accessed and profiled by the "elements hostile to national security and defense", the ministry added. The app was officially prohibited for not only promoting obscene contents but also over security and privacy issues.

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"There have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India". However, majority were earlier using the Facebook-owned app just to reach out to their potential sponsors and give a glimpse of the videos that they post on TikTok.

According to a report, Indian users spent over 5.5 billion (550 Crore) hours on TikTok in 2019.

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What remains to be seen is how the government proceeds with the ban this time around.

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