Why Government Threatens to Ban Tiktok & Helo in India?

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher
Tiktok Ban
Tiktok Ban

Government has issued notices to social media platforms like Tiktok and Helo along with a set of 21 questions threatening to ban these apps if it does not receive appropriate response, official sources said.

The action from Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) follows complaint by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) to the PM Modi, in which it alleged that these platforms are being used for anti-national activities.

However, when contacted, Tiktok and Helo in a joint statement stated they have plans to invest $1 billion over the period of next three years to develop technology infrastructure and owns responsibility of local community.

The ministry sought reply from TikTok and Helo on allegation that these platforms have become "a hub of anti-national activities". It has also sought assurance that the data of Indian users are not being transferred at present and will not be transferred in future also "to any other foreign government or any third party or private entity", as per sources.

Adding to it, the IT ministry has also sought response on the initiative being taken to check fake news and steps being taken to be compliant under Indian laws. It has asked explanation from Helo on allegation that it has paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.

The ministry has mentioned in the letter that "a detailed list of questions is enclosed herewith. You are hereby called upon to submit your response to the questions on or before 22nd July, 2019, failing which government may take necessary action to ban these apps."

Concerns are raised around the violation of child privacy and entry age of 13 years being set by these platforms to enrol users, whereas, person below age of 18 years is considered child in India.

On the contrary, TikTok and Helo in the joint statement stated that they are grateful for the immense support given by India's growing digital community.

According to statement, "Our continued success in India will not be possible without the support of our local community. We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the Government to meet and exceed our obligations."

It further added, "In line with our commitment to India, we are investing $1 billion dollars in India over the next three years, with a strategic focus on developing technology infrastructure, establishing local partnerships and supporting initiatives such as the Skill India Program which we are proud to be assisting with already."

Interestingly, India is one of the strongest market for TikTok and Helo.

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