According to Google Trends, interest in the search term 'TikTok download' has increased in India considerably since the ban
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New Delhi: Four days have passed since the TikTok ban. But, despite the fact that Google and Apple have removed the TikTok app from their respective app stores, not only does the China-based short video sharing app continue to be downloaded in India, it has seen the number of downloads from third-party websites increase phenomenally.
Artem Russakovskii, founder of APKMirror, said that since the TikTok ban, downloads have jumped “roughly 10-15 times, and a majority of them are from India". APKMirror is a popular and trusted website for downloading apps that are not available on the Android app store.
According to Russakovskii, the traffic on TikTok on the website increased by roughly 5 times on 16 April—the day after India banned the app. On 17 April, the number rose to about 12x the usual traffic.
According to Google Trends, interest in the search term “TikTok download" has increased in India considerably since the ban.
Launched in India in 2018, TikTok has 120 million active users in the country, most of them youngsters in small towns and cities. It is largely used to capture and share moments through short video clips decorated with stickers and GIFs.
Though the app has been accused of encouraging pornography, some social media networks, such as the microblogging platform Twitter, also carry short pornographic video clips and photos put out for promotion by publishers and performers—without facing a backlash from the authorities.
Also, the TikTok ban may not completely put it beyond the reach of children, feels Pavan Duggal, a cyberlaw expert. “Banning the app is completely out of sync with today’s reality. Even if the app is banned, people can still download it from other sources or by changing their location. The problem is not with the app but with third-party content. Strict action needs to be taken against people publishing such content instead of asking for a blanket ban on apps," he told Mint.
Meanwhile, the fact that TikTok can still be downloaded from third-party sites has triggered concern among mental health experts.
“It is certainly a mental health issue. Any kind of excessive behaviour needs to be recognized and adequately addressed. It could be a form of behavioural addiction, but we should be careful when we use the term, as social media usage and addiction are separate issues," said Dr Jayant Mahadevan, from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans), Bengaluru.
Experts said the need is more to recognize the threats emerging from internet and social media usage. “We need to look at the problem in a scientific manner. We faced a similar situation with PUBG, and now TikTok. If we do not recognize it correctly now, it will emerge again and again. A ban may not contain the damage," said Dr Arun Kandasamy, associate professor of psychiatry, Nimhans.
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