The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Department of Telecom (DoT) haven't yet decided on a course of action on how to deal with existing users of TikTok after a court banned downloads of the short-video app.
The Economic Times reported, citing an MeitY official, that the ministry cannot do anything about existing app users and that it's the DoT which needs to take up the matter with telecom service providers. However, a DoT official said that the department isn't taking any action as it believed that the MeitY was handling the issue.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had, on April 4, directed the central government to ban TikTok in response to a petition filed by a social activist and lawyer alleging that the platform promoted child abuse videos and was ‘addictive’ for young adults.
Subsequently, the MeitY had written to Google and Apple to remove the app for downloads from their app stores. Thereafter, both Google and Apple banned downloads of the app .
Chinese content company ByteDance, which owns TikTok, filed a plea to stay the ban but the Supreme Court on April 15 refused to agreed to its request. The apex court has directed the Madras High Court to address the case by April 24 or else the ban will be lifted.
Meanwhile, third-party downloads of the app continue.
According to a post by Gurugram-based technology analytics and research consulting firm techARC, existing users of TikTok can share the Android application package (APK) of the app with those looking to download the app. The app can also be downloaded from third-party app stores such as APKpure, AndroidAPKbox and others. “It will be impossible to enforce any law or order with such fragmented markets,” said the post.