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31 July


TikTok app banned in India

The court issued a verdict on the article "Distribution of pornography"

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ ByteDance, the world’s most valuable start-up, is facing a steep learning curve on its international expansion, as its popular short-video app TikTok gets embroiled in regulatory issues in different overseas markets. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.

TikTok, known as Douyin in mainland China, has become one of the most heavily downloaded apps worldwide since it was launched in 2016, but that rapid growth has been marred by recent problems with regulators in Indonesia, the United States and India.

Video-sharing platform TikTok – on which users can watch as well as create short videos with music, stickers and animation as special effects – faced its most adverse regulatory issue in India, a market where the app was estimated by ByteDance to have more than 120 million registered users.

A court in southern India’s Tamil Nadu ordered the federal government on April 3 to ban downloads of TikTok, which it said encouraged pornography. The prohibition did not affect those who had already downloaded the app in India.

Apple and Google removed TikTok from their online app stores in India, following a directive from the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

That ban resulted in financial losses of up US$500,000 a day and put more than 250 jobs at risk, according to a filing by Beijing-based ByteDance that was reported by Reuters early last week.

Two months before that legal hurdle, the ByteDance app was already the focus of unwanted publicity. A youngster in Tamil Nadu was accused of murdering a friend over a video uploaded to TikTok.