Bytedance

Chinese UGC apps with over 5 Mn users need to have office and executive in India

Bytedance

After regulating US technology giants such as Amazon, Walmart, and Facebook in India, the govt has now turned to Chinese user-generated content (UGC) platforms, which through their unbridled content have become massively popular in short span of time.

The govt, to moderate their risky and criminal content, has come up with draft regulation for Chinese apps including Tiktok, Vigo, LIKE and Helo.

Any Chinese platforms that have more than 5 million users will require to set up a local office and appoint senior executive, who could be held responsible, in India, proposed The Indian Ministry of electronics and IT (MeiTY).

These platforms also need to establish automated tools to identify and remove unlawful information or content, it added. There has also been a demand to ask these apps to keep the data of Indian citizens in the country.

According to a senior official at the electronics ministry, S Gopalakrishnan what worries the govt most is the absence of responsibility for content generated on these platforms. The govt does not want these firms to be a vehicle of unlawful activities such as spreading fake news, pornography and snooping.

The govt has talked to Bytedance-owned Tiktok on moderation of its content. The UGC platform is expected to submit its response soon. Entrackr queries to Tiktok still remains unanswered.

This is not the first time, that these apps have faced regulation or banned for their content.

Last year in July, Indonesia banned Tiktok for its inappropriate and blasphemy content. Chinese govt has also reportedly asked Tiktok to regulate their every piece of content.

As per the last year report, TikTok had 150 million daily and 500 million monthly active users. In August last year, Bytedance had merged two of its applications Musical.ly and TikTok. TikTok was the number 1 app installed worldwide in 2018, according to SensorTower data.

It claims to have 39 per cent of its 500 million global users in India.

Among many similar firms such as LIKE and Helo have also gained huge popularity and user base in India. LIKE has roped in several Bollywood celebrities including Sonakshi Sinha, Sunny Leone, Disha Patani and Ranveer Singh to promote its brand. It claims to have over 60 per cent of its total user base is from India.

Currently, Helo has 25 million MAUs and they aim to have 75 million MAUs by the end of 2019. Now, with the govt proposal for regulation in place, the Chinese apps won’t have an easy route ahead.

The information related to the development sourced from the FT report.