An Indian state court has reversed its ban on TikTok, allowing the short video app to return to both Apple and Google’s app stores, according to a report this morning from Reuters. Earlier this month, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had ordered TikTok be removed from app stores, after a High Court in Madras determined the app was encouraging pornography and other illicit content.
Though the removal only affected new users who were looking to download TikTok’s app to their devices for the first time — not those who already had it installed — the ban was a major blow to TikTok’s Chinese owner Bytedance. The company said in a court filing the ban was resulting in a $500,000 daily loss, and was putting more than 250 jobs at risk.
India had become a large and growing market for TikTok, with nearly 300 million users in the country out of over 1 billion total downloads, according to Sensor Tower. (TikTok notes it had over 120 million monthly actives in India.)
India had also accounted for 27 percent of TikTok’s total installs between December 2017 and December 2018, Sensor Tower found, which meant the app was a huge source of TikTok’s overall growth.
However, some Indian politicians and parents believe the app’s content is inappropriate, particularly with regard to its use by minors. And the Tamil Nadu court — which ruled against TikTok — said the app could expose children to sexual predators, as well.
The ban, had it been upheld, could have foretold increased legal action and regulation against other social media apps in India.
This wasn’t the first time TikTok has come under fire by government regulators.
In February, the FTC in the U.S. fined TikTok $5.7 million for violating children’s privacy law (COPPA) and required the app to implement an age gate.
Bytedance, in a statement, welcomed the court’s decision to reverse the ban, saying:
We are glad about this decision and we believe it is also greatly welcomed by our thriving community in India, who use TikTok as a platform to showcase their creativity. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our users better. While we’re pleased that our efforts to fight against misuse of the platform has been recognised, the work is never “done” on our end. We are committed to continuously enhancing our safety features as a testament to our ongoing commitment to our users in India
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