Chinese short-video app TikTok has downplayed the ban imposed by the Government of India, terming the move as an “interim” order.
The government has announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, both in mobile and non-mobile internet-enabled devices.
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“The government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok, and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India, said in a statement.
The Ministry of Information Technology, while issuing the order to block these apps, said the step was taken in view of information available that these apps were engaged in activities which were prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
“There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens. On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile internet-enabled devices," GOI had said in its order.
Google Play and Apple Store have removed app following the government order.
Interpreting it as an issue of data privacy only, TikTok said it continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of its users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government.
“Further, if we are requested to in the future, we would not do so. We place in the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” Gandhi said.
Evoking the financial well-being of the app users, TikTok said it has democratised the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, storytellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first-time internet users.