Tik Tok in India: An Analysis of Ban and Reprieve | Ishfaq Majid

Tik Tok

Tik Tok a Social Media app was launched in September 2017 in China and is owned by a company namely ByteDance. In August, 2018, the app merged with the musical.ly to enhance its video community. The app is available for Android and IOS users (except India) and enables them to create a short video containing music in the background. The video is of 3-15 seconds long and can be edited with respected to its music, filters and speed before it can be shared on the various Social Media platforms. The app got much popularity among the youth as using this app is very much interesting. The interface is built in such a way that no one can get bored while accessing the app. The one of the most feature which made it popular among teens is the lipsyncing. In lipsyncing the user move his lips silently in synchronization with a pre-recorded soundtrack.

The videos made on Tik Tok are created only just for having fun. The users have to bare no additional cost in creating the videos rather the users have to spend their mobile data only. The app gives an opportunity to common masses to become popular on social media platforms. It also provides a chance to those people who did not get a chance to perform in professional shows. Tik Tok is the most downloaded app on the Apple App store by reaching 45.8 million downloads in the first quarter 2018. If we combine the downloads of the Apple App Store and Google Play, Tik Tok is the 6th most downloaded app in the world in the first quarter of 2018 (Influencer Marketing Hub online portal). The popularity of this app in India is very much high as Tik Tok is having 260 Million users in India. According to Sensor Tower, the number of users is equal to people who use the Facebook app in India. The app is also considered as the most entertaining app of the year 2018.

The youth is India are much interested in this app. Rather spending their time on some productive works, they are getting diverted to the social media apps. The time that should be given in reading books or doing some useful work is being spent on the app. It is believed that it is attracting non-social media users as well who are the first users of the social media sites. The content posted on the app is harming our culture to a great extent. There are various complaints of Sexual harassment and pornography content coming out from the app as well.

Citing these reasons the Madras high Court banned the Tik Tok app in India. Soon after the court order the app went off from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. However on 24th April, the Madras High Court lifted the interim ban on the app but the app is still missing from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Now the question arises here is that whether banning of the app was good or not. Well regarding the pornography content and the sexual harassment, it might have been good to restrict the use of the app in India. But when we talk about the addiction towards the app, it is better to say that the app interface was built in such a way that youth is becoming addicted to it. The matter of concern here is addiction that is not at all the fault of any app. We can say that the app builders are very much professional and experienced that they designed the app in such a way that it attracted the attention of the common masses. It might be the lack of care taken by the parents that their wards are getting addicted to it. Parents at least need to take extra care regarding the usage of the app by their wards.

The ban on the app is lifted now but what about the problems and issues that will be arising in front of us. But the good point coming out of the ban is that the company has pointed out that it will makes sure that users adhere to community guidelines and stay within the regulations while uploading content to the platform. The company has told that they will be employing technology to flag objectionable content since July of 2018 and even argued that only 0.0006 per cent of its content is pornographic in nature and the company is working to get it removed from its platform. Still it is our concern to use the app in a good sense that doesn’t violate the privacy of anyone. Using any social media app is not bad at all but the use should be restricted to a certain time period and that usage should not hamper our other activities.

Ishfaq Majid, Research Scholar, School of Education, Central University of Gujarat, India


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