Update: Apple and Google have both removed TikTok as requested. While the app is no longer available for download, those who have previously downloaded it can continue using it.
TikTok, the popular — albeit controversial — Chinese video-sharing app, has run into problems in India. The country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has reportedly asked Apple and Google to remove the app from their respective app stores.
The issue will be heard in the Supreme Court on April 22, but the app could potentially vanish from stores before then.
In a statement, TikTok noted that:
TikTok is problematic because it has been found to host user-generated content that is considered to be inappropriate. This isn’t helped by the fact that the app mainly appeals to young people. TikTok has argued that it is not responsible for the kind of content that third-parties upload.
This is the same argument that has been made by Facebook, YouTube and others to defend their position as platforms instead of publishers.
Nonetheless, as noted, TikTok has confirmed that it has removed more than 6 million videos, following a review of content generated by users in India.
The challenges of an international App Store
At time of writing, Apple has not pulled TikTok from its App Store in India. If it does decide to, this won’t be the first time the company has had to make App Store decisions based on different geographic locations.
Late last year, Apple agreed to make an anti-spam application developed by the Indian government available locally. The software is designed to help prevent an avalanche of commercial phone calls and texts. However, Apple had previously expressed concerns that it revealed too much information about users to the government.
Apple has also agreed to block a number of apps, including Skype, from its Chinese App Store. This was as a result of the apps apparently breaking local laws.
Source: Economic Times