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Ban on TikTok app would harm free speech, China's Bytedance tells SC

A ban 'amounts to curtailing of the rights of the citizens of India...who have been using the platform every day to express themselves and create content', the company said in a court filing

Reuters  |  New Delhi 

tiktok, tiktok app
TikTok, whose video-only interface makes it easier to use than platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, says app analytics firm Sensor Tower

An Indian court's call for a ban on the popular video app will hurt free speech rights, China's has said in a request for the to quash the directive.

Bytedance is one of the world's most valuable start-ups and its app lets users create and share short videos with special effects. It has become popular in rural India, where most of a population of 1.3 billion lives.

TikTok, whose video-only interface makes it easier to use than platforms such as or Twitter, has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, says app analytics firm

A ban "amounts to curtailing of the rights of the citizens of ..who have been using the platform everyday to express themselves and create content," the company said in a court filing reviewed by Reuters, asking for the order to be quashed.

The company's Monday filing is not public and has not previously been reported. The has set next Monday for a hearing.

Bytedance did not respond to a request for comment. India's ministry also did not respond.

Last week, a court in asked the to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators.

TikTok's inappropriate content was a dangerous aspect of the app, it added.

Jokes, clips and footage related to India's movie industry dominate the platform, along with videos in which young people, sometimes scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to music.

Bytedance said users flagged only a tiny proportion of videos, showing that a "very minuscule" proportion of its content was considered inappropriate or obscene. TikTok was primarily used to circulate amusing videos, it added.

It also argued that it could not be held liable for content posted by users.

Some of TikTok's content was "unbearable", M. Manikandan, the in told in February, and a Hindu nationalist group close to the ruling has also called for a ban.

In its filing, the company said TikTok had experienced immense success in India, which fuelled controversy. Bytedance employs more than 250 people in and plans more investment as it expands the business, it added.

The BJP is tracking conversations on TikTok, the party's chief, Amit Malviya, has previously told Reuters, calling it a brilliant medium for creative expression.

 

 

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 13:22 IST
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