ByteDance-owned video making app TikTok has found itself in more trouble in India with Google Play Store rating falling to 1.2 and a mass call for a ban on the app for promoting violent and sexual content, as well as a reaction
Users in India are giving a 1-star rating to the app on the Google Play Store for the past few days due to which the app’s current rating has come down to 1.2 from 4.5 on the store. The ratings are being followed with reviews about TikTok promoting so-called objectionable content. On Twitter, #BanTikTok and #IndiansAgainstTikTok were trending through the day.
The trouble began with a TikTok video by Amir Siddiqui accusing YouTubers of plagiarizing TikTok content and losing out on brand endorsements. This got a response in the form of a YouTube video by popular creator Ajey Nagar, known as CarryMinati. The video was about to become one of the most-watched non-music videos on YouTube, before it was taken down after complaints about seemingly homophobic comments against Amir. It led to another intense YouTube Vs TikTok debate.
While this debate raged, another TikTok video by influencer Faizal Siddiqui, who has over 13.4 lakh followers, was seen as allegedly mocking acid attacks. BJP politician Tajinder Bagga, who shared the clip, had tagged chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Rekha Sharma to take the matter into consideration, on Twitter. Taking cognisance of the complaint, Sharma wrote to TikTok to take down the video at the earliest.
While #BanTikTok began trending after CarryMinati’s video was taken down, it picked up pace again due to the acid attack video controversy. Since then, several other TikTok videos, seemingly homophobic, sexual content, racist, casteist slur etc have been brought to the limelight as well, raising further questions on TikTok’s content.
It is to be noted that this isn’t the first time TikTok has faced the heat in relation to a ban. TikTok, launched in 2017 in India, is said to have more than 200 Mn active users in the country, and it expects to have 300 Mn by the end of the year. The platform is quite popular, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
TikTok faced a ban in India last year due to allegations of the spread of child pornography. Prior to that, the “Blue Whale challenge” created a negative buzz. It was an online suicide game focused at teenagers which assigned them 50 tasks over the span of 50 days. The challenge was linked to several deaths globally.
Earlier, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, had also criticised TikTok for carrying “undesirable content” on its platform. The Rajya Sabha had empanelled an committee in December 2019 to look at possible legislative provisions to address the exploitation of children online.