NEW DELHI: After being removed from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for nearly half a month, media sharing app TikTok is back on both platforms. The app can now be downloaded and used without any restrictions.
On 3 April, the Madras high court asked the central government to prevent TikTok downloads, saying it was "encouraging pornography". As a result, the app was taken off by both Apple and Google app stores.
On 22 April, the Supreme Court directed the Madras high court to decide on a plea in the hearing scheduled for 24 April, failing which it said the order would stand vacated. The Madras high court, after hearing a plea from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, reversed its 3 April decision.
TikTok, whose video-only interface makes it less elaborate and easier to use than platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Despite the regulatory hurdles, TikTok parent company ByteDance continues to invest heavily in India. In an interview with Mint, Helena Lersch, director, global public policy, TikTok said to stop pornographic content the company is investing heavily in content moderation. By the end of 2019, TikTok aims to have 1,000 employees in India and 25% of that is just content moderation. The company also updated its community guidelines back in November, and added a section just for India, which allows even less skin. Lersch said TikTok's artificial intelligence (AI) tools can detect skin and they are showing very little skin in India on the social media platform.