The Tamil Nadu government is reportedly planning to initiate a discussion with the Centre on banning the ByteDance-owned video sharing platformTikTok (formerly known as Musicaly) due to the type of content being circulated on the platform.
This decision of the state government was taken up by the state IT minister M Manigandan while speaking at the state assembly. The issue was taken up after lawmaker Thamimun Ansari said that the application was being used to encourage debates against law and order and is also being used to share sexually explicit content.
TikTok allows its users to create small lip-sync videos and share it across the platform. Its Indian users account for 39% of its 500 Mn global users. However, the social media company which mainly targets the age group of 16 and 24 years is facing troubles in the country after reports that the platform is being misused to spread, hate speech, nudity and other harmful contents.
In order to gain the trust of the government, the company recently said that it is taking steps to comply with content and privacy policies rules for social media companies. Last week, it was reported that the company had launched an India-specific campaign named #SafeHumSafeInternet to promote online safety among its users.
In India, TikTok has its offices in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. Recently, it also appointed Sandhya Sharma from Mastercard as TikTok India’s public policy director. This decision comes in at a time when the Indian government is looking to keep a tab on the social media companies. Recently, the central government rules that Chinese social media apps with more than 5 Mn users will need to have an office in the country.
“We are committed to respecting local laws and regulations, and in order to better coordinate with law enforcement agencies, we are also in the process of hiring a chief nodal officer, based out of India,” TikTok spokesperson said in response to Inc42‘s query.
In order to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had introduced the draft Intermediary Guidelines Rules 2018 in December 2018. Under the new guidelines, the government will keep a check on the social media activity and regulate the spread ake news and child pornography content spread across social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, WhatsApp.
The Indian government has been taking steps to regulate the spread of fake news after it was reported that nearly 31 people were allegedly killed across the country by lynch mobs over a rumour of child kidnapping which was spread using WhatsApp.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is also drafting a letter to WhatsApp to build a technical solution to prevent the spread of fake news on its platform.
[The development was reported by ET]