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Madras High Court bans TikTok in Tamil Nadu with immediate effect


With the penetration of short video applications such as TikTok, Bigo Live, Vigo and Like, teenagers have become vulnerable to sexual abuse. One can easily gauge that these apps are amassing hundreds of millions of downloads on the back of sleazy content.

Identifying them as evil for underage, (below 18 years old), Tamil Nadu government had urged center to ban TikTok.

While the central government is yet to take any concrete call on southern state’s recommendation, Madras High Court has directed the state government to prohibit downloading of TikTok.

The bench comprising of justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar passed an interim order effective from April 3. The Media is also banned from telecasting the videos created through Bytedance-owned app, reports Bar&Bench.

The judges also asked the union government’s stand whether it will enact a statute on the lines of the US’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to prevent the children from becoming cyber/online victims.

“Majority of the teens are playing pranks, gaffing around with duet videos sharing with split screen to the strangers. The children who use the said application are vulnerable and may expose them to sexual predators …. Without understanding the dangers involved in these kinds of Mobile Apps., it is unfortunate that our children are testing with these Apps,” said the judges passing an interim order.

The matter will be heard next on April 16. Two weeks ago, M. Manikandan, information technology minister of the Tamil Nadu had emphasised that the government would recommend for banning TikTok in the state.

In February, the union government had asked Chinese content apps that have more than 5 million users to set up a local office and appoint senior executive, who could be held responsible in India.

Given that government and judiciary are going to have a tough stance on apps like TikTok, Bigo, Vigo and others who are seen to be spreading obscenity and threat to children and underage, it would be interesting to see how such apps act to comply with the law of the land.

Banning apps in a particular state and region is not easy for law enforcement agencies. How they ensure that application is not used or downloaded by citizens, will be interesting to track.

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