New Delhi: At a time when relations between India and China have soured over the killing of 20 Indian soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, a social media message has been going around stating that the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued an order instructing the restriction of certain Chinese apps on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Coming at a time when there have been demands from several quarters for the ban of Chinese apps and products, the message sought to portray a retaliatory approach from India. But the Centre, through the official Twitter handle of the Press Information Bureau’s Fact Check categorically denied having issued any such order.
On June 19, a statement issued by the Centre was tweeted through PIB. It claimed that no such order seeking a ban on Chinese apps has been issued by the NIC under the Ministry of Electronics and IT.
Claim: A viral message of an order allegedly from NIC claims that @GoI_Meity has prohibited some apps from being made available on App Stores. #PIBFactCheck: The Order is #Fake. No such instruction has been given by @GoI_MeitY or NIC. pic.twitter.com/Dt7rMR7nIz
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) June 19, 2020
The Centre insisted that the order circulating on social media was fake and that it had not passed any instructions to either Google or Apple.
The message, which had been circulated on social media, was designed to appear like an official document. It even had an order number and the signature and designation of a senior government official. The message had also listed 15 apps against which it intended to take up the action that the Centre had directed.
It noted that the NIC under the Government of India had on June 17 directed the regional executive and representatives of Google and Apple to “restrict the functioning of Chinese applications from the respective stores with immediate effect”. The apps which were mentioned on the ‘order’ included TikTok, VMate, Vigo Video, LiveMe, Bigo Live, Beauty Plus, CamScanner, Club Factory, Shein, Romwe, Clash of Kings, Mobile Legends, AppLock and Game of Sultans.
In its order, the Centre clarified: “No! This order is not issued by NIC”. It insisted that this order was fake and no such instructions had been issued.
Earlier, several people, including educator and innovator Sonam Wangchuk had raised calls for boycotting products made in China and Chinese apps. They had accused China of intentionally provoking border disputes with various countries to divert attention from its own troubles at home.