The Indian government banned TikTok, which is extremely popular in the country, for alleged privacy violations and threatening its “sovereignty.”
On Monday, the government of India announced the banning of 59 apps — including TikTok — for “[engaging] in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.” TikTok, notably, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and over the past year has faced accusations of violating its users’ privacy.
While there are privacy-related reasons to be concerned about TikTok, and many other apps for that matter, this latest ban follows on the heels of a deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese military forces earlier this month that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
We reached out to TikTok for a response to the ban but received no immediate response. There will surely be a response from Indian TikTok fans, however, according to analytics company SensorTower, the app was downloaded 46.6 million times in India in February alone — making it “TikTok’s biggest driver of downloads” that month.
TikTok was already removed from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store in India in April of this year — for allegedly facilitating the distribution of pornography — only to be added back a few weeks later. This time, however, the Indian government’s stated motivation is a little more serious.
“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” read the announcement.
As such, the statement continued, the government is banning a host of allegedly violating apps.
Should the latest TikTok ban last longer than the previous one, Indians desperate for looping-video apps may be forced to do the unthinkable: turn to Vine-successor Byte.