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An Indian court lifts the ban on downloading TikTok

By Aria Thaker

TikTok is likely to be available for download in India again soon.

The Madras high court, which had earlier asked the central government to ban the short-form video app, vacated its interim order today (April 24), legal news portal Bar and Bench reported on Twitter.

With over a billion downloads—nearly 300 million of whom are by Indian users—TikTok has quickly become a global phenomenon.

The app faced a major setback in India earlier this month when the high court ordered the central government to ban the app, saying it was “encouraging pornography.” As an interim ban measure, by directions of the central ministry of electronics and IT, the app had been removed from the Google and Apple app stores in India on April 17.

TikTok has faced considerable heat in India for its supposed problems with pornography and child protection—issues that critics have pointed out exist on nearly every social network. The past few months have also raised concerns over public safety—especially after some individuals died either making videos or because of harassment faced on the app.

The problem is not limited to India. In February, the US federal trade commission fined TikTok a record-breaking $5.7 million (Rs40 crore) for violating child privacy laws. In Indonesia last summer, it was banned for featuring blasphemous and pornographic content, but un-banned after a week when the app agreed to censor “negative content.”

TikTok already has content moderators in India, and recently announced that it had removed six million videos for not complying with its community guidelines. Amid India’s election, it has also begun serving users a warning advisory to not post fake news.

The ban in India had financial repercussions on TikTok’s Chinese parent unicorn Bytedance. It has said the ban was causing it to incur losses of $500,000 (Rs3.48 crore) per day and jeopardising 250 jobs, Reuters reported yesterday (April 23).