More than 250 jobs are at risk and the developer is bearing a loss of up to $500,000 a day as per the Chinese company. The app TikTok which is also known as ‘Douyin’ in China and was formerly known as Musical.ly has recorded 1 billion global downloads with whopping 300 million users from India. The app which allows users to create short music videos was banned in India this month as it was considered to be endorsing obscene and sleazy content.
An Indian state High court filed a petition requesting the ban and interdicting the download of the app on a plea by Advocate Muthu Kumar. The court noticed indecorous content was being available to children and they were sharing split screens on the app with strangers putting themselves in jeopardy. The High Court asserted that children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators. A BBC investigation this month found TikTok failed to suspend the accounts of people sending sexual messages to teenagers and children.
In February, TikTok had to pay a humongous fine of $5.7m in relation to a US case that involved privacy of children. The US has already authorized The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to protect children under 13 while the video-sharing app was also banned by Bangladesh earlier this year labeling it a war against pornography. The application wasn’t in vogue only in the urban parts of India but was as much popular in the Rural India.
The wacky app has been in the news for wrong reasons lately and a multitude of reports have shown its destructive effects including suicides, accidents, abuse and exploitation. But the question that emerges now is “Is a downright ban the right solution?” Discussions are ongoing on whether a law similar to COPPA can be enacted in India. The Supreme Court has given an interim order and final decision is yet to be taken.