The Ministry of Information Technology of India requested the TikTok video application, one of the most popular in the world, to explain how it collects user data and educates users about the safe use of its platform, according to government officials and a document seen by International news channel.
According to Sensor Tower, it has been downloaded by almost 300 million users in India, out of more than one billion downloads worldwide.
Investigations by the Indian Ministry of Information Technology took place after a Hindu nationalist group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for the ban on TikTok, saying its developer, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, had a history in the protection of privacy.
The app was briefly banned in India last April after a court directive said the app encouraged pornography and could expose children to sexual predators. The ban was revoked after an appeal by TikTok.
Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, the economic arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) group, had already criticized the contents of TikTok and declared that the app was “against Indian culture and morality” and wrote to Modi to reiterate its call for a ban on both TikTok and another Bytedance app called Helo.
In a three-page document consulted by International news channel, the Ministry of Informatic technology asked 24 questions about user security, data storage, and TikTok’s legal compliance. The ministry also asked for details on the measures taken to avoid the obscene content of TikTok.
“What measures have been taken to create awareness among children and parents to ensure safe use of the platform and to avoid any addictiveness of the application?” read one of the questions.
A spokesman for TikTok and Helo said in a statement that India is one of the strongest markets in which company plans to invest $ 1 billion over the next three years.
“We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the government to meet and exceed our obligations,” the spokesman said.
A government official told International news channel that TikTok and Helo was reluctant to answer the ministry’s questions on July 22, but it was too early to say whether the government was any sort of ban on the apps.
“They are expected to respond in a responsible manner,” the official said.
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