A Day After Being Blocked, TikTok Says it Has Been Invited to Meet Govt Stakeholders to Respond to the Ban

On Tuesday morning, the Chinese video-sharing and social media app was removed from both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

New Delhi: Popular video-sharing and social media app TikTok on Tuesday morning said that it is in the process of complying with what it described as the government’s “interim order” to  block its app.

In a statement, the company also said it had been invited to meet government stakeholders for an opportunity to “respond and submit clarifications”.

On Monday evening, the Narendra Modi government issued a surprise order that blocked number of apps with Chinese links, in a move that it described as necessary to protect the security and privacy interests of millions of Indian Internet users.

Some of the banned apps include Shareit, Clash of Kings, Weibo and UC Browser.

Perhaps the most popular app that was on the ban list, however, was TikTok, which over the last two years has managed to gain a strong user base amongst young Indians and spawned a creative content production ecosystem along the lines of YouTube. 

On Tuesday morning, the TikTok app had been removed from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. The Chinese company’s statement appears to hint that the two Silicon Valley companies did not remove the app from their app stores, but that it was pulled down by TikTok itself.

“The government of India has issued an interim order for blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it,” the Chinese firm said.

“We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications. TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government,” its statement added.

With TikTok alleging that the Modi government had “invited” the firm to meet and submit clarifications, it is unclear whether this indicates that the ban can be overturned in any manner or whether the Centre plans to probe the company for any alleged data-sharing practices.

In its Monday night statement, the government said that the IT ministry had “received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the press release said.