The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a Madras High Court division bench order to ban social media platform TikTok. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing today.
Chinese content conglomerate ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has been in the eye of a storm following a petition filed by a Madurai based lawyer and social activist. The petition sought a ban on the short video-based social networking app citing the promotion of child pornography and addictive user behavior, especially for young adults.
On April 4, a division bench of the Madras High Court had directed the government to ban the app and barred media houses from airing videos made using the app. The government, however, did not act on the order, citing difficulties in banning the app, according to multiple media reports. On April 8, the Supreme Court had rejected an urgent plea from ByteDance, represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who argued for a stay on the ban.
Last week, TikTok issued a statement saying that it had removed six million videos for violating community guidelines since July 2018. The app has close to 54 million users in India. It also announced an age-gate feature which restricts children under 13 years of age from logging in and introduced a comment filter which prohibits 30 key words in English and Hindi to “prevent predatory, hateful and obscene comments” from appearing in the comments section of the videos.
In response to specific queries from TechCircle, a TikTok spokesperson said, “At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India.”
The Supreme Court has listed the matter for hearing on April 22 basis the outcome of the hearing before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.