The Indian government has banned TikTok, WeChat, and several other apps, says the apps are ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of the county. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has banned the Chinese-based apps as the ministry states that the activities of the apps are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India".
With over 2 billion downloads, India is a huge market for TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. TikTok’s India chief has acknowledged the government order in a statement while denying that it had ever shared user information with the Chinese government.
Several US government agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Navy, and the Army, have banned the use of the app on government-issued devices, citing security concerns over ByteDance’s connections to the Chinese government.
It’s also not clear whether India’s ban on TikTok is somehow related to an incident earlier this month at the border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead or to recent security concerns about how the app was handling clipboard content on some devices. Last week, users of a beta version of iOS 14 noticed that TikTok was accessing content on their devices’ clipboards, a practice the company had pledged to stop several months ago. TikTok said it was accessing clipboard content as an “anti-spam” measure, and added it had since submitted an update to the App Store.
This is not the first time India has banned TikTok. Last year, the government instructed Google and Apple to remove the app from their respective app stores over concerns about pornography on the platform. Indian lawmakers said TikTok was encouraging the spread of explicit content and “cultural degradation.” The ban was lifted after about a week. Also in February 2019, TikTok paid $5.7 million to the Federal Trade Commission over alleged violations of COPPA, a children’s privacy law. It had been allowing children under 13 years old to sign up for the app without parental consent. It’s since made changes to the app that increased parental controls.