Google and Apple have been asked by the Government of India to take down popular short-video app TikTok from their respective app stores. The order by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) reportedly comes just a day after the Supreme Court refused to stay the Madras High Court order asking the Centre to ban the viral app.
While the Supreme Court is still deliberating on the Madras HC’s order on banning TikTok, the latest order by Meity will look to pull down the app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to prevent any further downloads. The order will not, however, prevent people who have already downloaded the app from using it.
“The High Court asked the government to prohibit download of TikTok application. It (Meity) is ensuring that by asking Google and Apple to delete it from the app stores. Now it is up to the companies to do it or appeal the order,” one person familiar with the matter reportedly told the Economic Times.
TikTok has come under heavy fire in India in recent months after reports surfaced earlier this year that the app was being used by the youth to mock and troll politicians and policemen. More recently, the app has been criticized for spreading pornographic and inappropriate content. The Madras HC has labeled the app “inappropriate for children” and has even prohibited media companies from telecasting videos posted on the app.
“We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India,” TikTok said in an emailed statement.
TikTok has been one of the most downloaded apps over the past few quarters with a large portion of new users coming out of India. According to market analysis firm Sensor Tower, India accounted for 88.6 million new users out of a total of 188 new users in the March quarter.
Apple and Google are yet to comment on whether they agree to the government’s order of taking down the TikTok app from their app stores or not.