TikTok has responded to the Government of India's ban in the country. The company's India head, Nikhil Gandhi says, “The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok, and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications.”
In a statement issued via TikTok's official social handles, Gandhi has confirmed that it is currently in the process of complying with what the company has termed an "interim" ban order. The Bytedance-owned short video form app is claimed to comply with all privacy requirements, and that it does not share information with the Chinese government.
The TikTok app was removed from Google Play store and Apple's App Store soon after the authorities made the announcement of banning 59 Chinese apps. While the app is delisted from app stores, users who have it installed on their phone are still able to use it.
Company representatives will be meeting with government officials to discuss the issue and submit clarifications. Gandhi says that TikTok places user privacy and security on top priority and will not compromise user data, even if the Chinese government made any such requests.
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government. Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” Gandhi says.
Gandhi says that several hundreds of millions of users depend on TikTok for their livelihood, many of whom are first time Internet users.
Delisting of TikTok from app stores means no other updates will be issued for it. While you will still be able to use it, no new features or security tweaks can be added moving forward.
Apart from TikTok, the Indian government has also banned other Chinese apps including ShareIt, UC Browser, Shein, Club Factory, Clash of Kings, Helo, Mi Community, CamScanner, ES File Explorer, VMate, and more. The government claims that these apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state, and public order.
In 2020, will WhatsApp get the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.