Do you think that the ban on TikTok makes sense?

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Madras High Court order which directed the prohibition on downloading the TikTok Mobile Application has been assailed before the Supreme Court. A special leave petition has been filed up by the Bytedance (India) Technology Pvt. Ltd., which owns the mobile application against the Madurai bench order directing the government to ban the application.

However, the CJI headed bench refused the urgent listening of the petition. The matter was mentioned by the Senior Advocate Abhishekh Manu Singhvi.

The bench therefore said that the plea will come up for hearing in due course of time.

India Bans TikTok; HC said TikTok is Polluting Youngsters

TikTok is a simple app, wherein users can lip-sync popular videos as well as can create short funny clips. These can be Bollywood songs, comedy acts, song videos, or general dialogues. More than 100 million Indians have downloaded the app and there are between 30–40 million active users in India.

Madras High Court bans TikTok

TikTok app has been banned by the Madras High Court based on a petition by Muthu Kumar, a Madurai based senior lawyer.

The Bench at the Madras Court ruled: “By becoming addicted to TikTok App and similar Apps or cyber games, the future of the youngsters and mindset of the children are spoiled”.

Similarly, media has also been banned from using any TikTok videos for any purpose.

The Court directed Centre to make sure that no one is able to download TikTok app in India.

Here are the three main reasons behind banning TikTok:-

Violation of Section 79 of the IT Act

The Section 79 of the Information Technology Act in India provides protection to online mediums and platforms from lawsuits and defamation. 

For example, Facebook or Whatsapp owners and managers cannot be held accountable for any content or message posted on their platform. 

Hence, by this logic, banning TikTok in India due to the content shared on the platform is completely illogical and illegal. TikTok, as an online platform, can challenge this order as well.

The ban is discriminatory

Here, as per the rule passed by the madras high court, only downloading of TikTok has been banned.

Whereas, those users who have already installed the app can use it, as they please. Only the new users are banned. One can say that it is a pure discrimination between existing and new users.

Similarly, this ban is also discriminatory against Google and Apple, which provide a platform for users to download these apps.

First of all, there are no laws in India which can prevent Google and Apple and any other mobile apps platform from allowing TikTok for Indian users. 

Cutting off the freedom of expression

Basically the app empowers users to express themselves, via videos and lip-syncing and acting. It’s a platform for expression, and what we see is modern art. This art can be disturbing at time, as the basic nature, the very process of creating art is a disruption.

But here, due to a single-minded view of few Judges, this amazing platform to express oneself has been banned. This is unfair for both the active users of TikTok, and for those who used the platform to express themselves. 

In the year 2015, a bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and R.F. Nariman in the Supreme Court had scrapped Section 66A, as it violated Freedom of Expression. Previously, this draconian act was used to arrest and intimidate anyone, who said something wrong/bad online, which was termed as offensive.

While abolishing this act, the bench had said, “what is grossly offensive to you, may not be grossly offensive to me and it is a vague term.. Highly trained judicial minds (judges of the UK courts) came to different conclusions by using the same test applied to judge as to what is grossly offensive and what is offensive,”

Issue of children’s safety

Kids performing on the platform stand a chance to get exploited and bullied on the platform, and this has actually happened.

Not only kids, but adult’s as well.

A 24-year old man killed himself after he was bullied and insulted on TikTok.

 Similarly, such bullying can happen anywhere, even on Facebook or any public park.

While performing stunts for higher views, few kids killed themselves on the road, and such incidents have come to light.

As it happened with TikTok in the US, TikTok created a separate app for kids, and infused additional safety measures and protocols to ensure that no kid is harassed, or abused on the platform. After TikTok met the regulations imposed by US Federal Trade Commission, and everything is fine there now. The Content has been segregated based on audience profile and many filters and checks have been imposed. Parents have been educated on how to monitor the content accessed by their kids, and provided with more tools and features to do that.

Hence, instead of a ban, there is no reason why the same cannot be applied to India as well.

By

Riya Mishra

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