TikTok exploded in popularity all across the globe. The app gives users access to a video-sharing platform that allows them to create videos and upload them to share with the world. The application managed to amass 800 million monthly active users globally. However, they have to deal with a big problem as India, one of the largest mobile markets in the world, has blocked downloads of the app.
The order was issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It demanded that both Apple and Google removed the app from local stores. The High Court in Madras judged that the app was encouraging users to produce pornographic and otherwise elicit content.
In January of 2019, TikTok was fined by the FTC in the US for breaking child privacy protection policies. TikTok has been struggling with content moderation and still receives occasional warnings from various regulatory bodies in different countries.
India will not force users who already installed the app to uninstall it. However, the country demanded the app to be removed from App Store and Google Play, and Apple and Google complied. TikTok may lose its global momentum due to losing one of the biggest mobile markets in the world with over 350 million mobile users (as of 2017) and expected connected devices ecosystem growth to 2.2 billion by 2022.
TikTok owners responded to the court decision three times. In their first statement, the company claimed that it removed 6 million videos that broke content policies implemented by the platform internally. TikTok argued that its content policing efforts were effective.
However, their latest official statement was more welcoming of the court decision:
“We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curae (independent counsel)…“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.”
TikTok faces problems – as do many companies – as it relies on user-generated content. Policing the content created by millions of users is a tall task.