Tiktok Ban in India – Know everything before you delete TikTok! (Bonus: Indian TikTok apps)
Here is a more trending news about Tiktok ban in India. Apart from WhatsApp, TikTok is probably the only video-sharing social networking app that has found users all over the world and strata. In India, specifically, people of all age groups have embraced the app for providing an easy, exciting and fun way to offer and consume content but is about to be banned in India. Unlike YouTube, TikTok videos are quite short and don’t need much technical expertise. It is the main reason you could see even senior citizens lip-syncing to the songs or offering some insights from their experience. Homemakers have taken to the app as it lets them make videos of recipes, skincare routine, makeup and most importantly, about them without any prowess. In a demographic, where they are continuously trying to be heard, TikTok is the platform that lets them a chance to be. You can browse without logging in, and it is just a two-step sign-up for creators.
What is TikTok Means in India?
TikTok is the brainchild of Zhang Yiming’s Beijing-based internet technology company, ByteDance. The app was propositioned as a platform to push content in the form of short dance, comedy, talent and fun videos, and was christened and launched as Douyin in the Chinese market in September 2016. After its success in the home market, the app was launched for Android and iOS in 2017. It acquired musical.ly for $1 billion and was launched in the United States in 2018. The videos are just 3-15 seconds long. The looping videos could be one-minute long and once the users have cracked the short videos, creating long videos with the help of filters and features isn’t much of a task. Despite similarities, the home app Douyin and TikTok run on different servers, because of Chinese censorship restrictions.
Why it is the Most Download App in India & USA?
It is the first Chinese app to become the most downloaded app in the United States. It is available in over thirty-nine languages and 150 markets. On average, there are 500 million users all over the world, and Indian users are spending almost forty minutes on the app every day. Subsequently, it became the most-downloaded app on the App Store in 2018 and 2019, along with the seventh most downloaded app of the decade from 2010 to 2019. The former chairman of the Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, Kevin Mayer is the CEO of TikTok and COO of ByteDance. According to the data provided to CNBC by Sensor Tower, it was downloaded for more than 104 million times on App Store eventually becoming the most downloaded app on Apple’s platform, surpassing the likes of YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Its About a Cheap Video Marketing
While the app has targeted audience all across the globe and the strata, the primary audience of this app remains under 18. It is primarily the entertaining content that attracts the carefree audience of young age group.
While Instagram is primarily about promoting contentor scamming the customers without being so clear about the paid content or sponsorship, TikTok has yet to break this mould or “unlock” this opportunity of being a complete sell-out. While there are still users that overly edit their photos or present an unrealistic image to their users, there are several people who don’t- something that is difficult to find on Instagram. The digital marketing professionals are discovering for another stream of influencers to woo their customers, TikTok hasn’t reached its saturation point mainly because of its all-inclusive user groups.
Lots of Video Editing is Possible in TikTok
The videos don’t need any text, and the users just need an idea to create content, making TikTok a popular choice among the users from all walks of life. No other app has managed to transcend every imaginable barrier of age, ethnicity, class and geography.
The video platform contacted popular influencers and celebrities to boost their engagement rate. TikTok promoted its content by creating a range of contests in Japan, appealing its value of ‘respect for similarity’,and it came up with exclusive stickers for its traditional water festival of Thailand.
Users can choose from a range of filters, music genres and speed for their videos. The users can react to a video using a variety of emojis or DM mutual users. They can also duet with user videos, which TikTok inherited from Musical.ly. The account can be marked private to give access to only authorised users.
The ‘For You’ page of TikTok is AI-based and generates content based on a user’s interest. Users need to be of 16 year or above to feature on this page. There are hashtags to help users to find relevant content. Users with more than 1,000 followers and over 16 years of age can go ‘LIVE’, and users above 18 years of age can receive virtual gifts from their followers, which can be exchanged for money.
The app also offers a range of moderation features, which help the users to report an account, or a video marking it inappropriate or spam. There is parental control, which allows parents to moderate the content their kids are watching.
TikTok also launched ‘family safety mode’ in Feb 2020 for parents to supervise and monitor their kids’ online footprints. This option can be used to limit browsing, screen time and direct messages.
But it a day late and a dollar short.
TikTok has failed to manage and moderate its content. The network has a dedicated content team that overlooks the requests and bans the content it finds inappropriate. The content created by its users is massive, and its users haven’t precisely been responsible with the content they are creating. While we have Bollywood celebrities like Deepika Padukone, and Shilpa Shetty, international stars like Will Smith, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, celebrity chefs, cricketers, motivational speaker and even teachers, the casual sexism and mocking of serious issues is rampant.
And it is a big deal.
Kids and tweens at an impressionable age are watching this content. We don’t want our young kids to understand that domestic violence is okay. Or consent in a relationship doesn’t matter. There have been videos of violence against animals too, and the sensible users feel helpless because they can’t do anything but report the video inappropriate and wait for the TikTok marketing team to take it off the internet. Until then, the video has views and downloads in thousands.
Activists & NGOS are supporting TikTok Ban in India
While there are activists, NGOs and volunteers doing every bit to sensitise people and household towards fundamental rights of women, such videos due to their widespread reach defeat the purpose. People see their role models slapping their female partner, throwing water for acid, or doing domestic violence in the name of fun; they think it is okay.
TikTok has been under the scanner of Indian authorities and netizens because of its controversial content related to COVID-19 pandemic. A set of people ridiculing the government’s lockdown measures, social distancing protocols and instructions of self-isolation was singled out by them. Some of the videos went on to attribute the government channels for spreading misinformation on COVID-19 and stating that it isn’t as bad.
However, the damage is done even before the outrage gains any momentum. It takes a lot to do right and a little to ridicule those efforts.
With TikTok, while it is quite easy to make content, but the line of good, bad or ugly content is blurring fast. It is difficult to expect the users to be vigilant, but we are here talking about millions of users and nobody has even the slightest idea of their reaction to the content.
However, it will be unfair to talk about the irresponsibility of the users when the app itself has failed to do due diligence. The recent incident of Faizal Siddiqui is the prime example of its glaring negligence concerning social commitment. Faizal’s TikTok account was suspended for glorifying the acid attack on women in his video. You would think it to be an excellent and stringent call, but within three days, the same user was up and running with another account, with even more number of followers.
China Will Have Full Control Over India Users Data – It Should Get Banned Immediately
It happened when the content of the video created a nationwide furore that even National Commission for Women had to take Suo Moto Cognizance and write a letter to the authorities at TikTok India to take the video down and take stringent action against him.
It is just an example of how things at TikTok India are handled. It is appalling, especially when the platform is complying with the censorship rule of its home country, China but fails even to recognise the social fabric of a country like India.
The outrage and calls for ban on TikTok in India aren’t new. Previously, the Madras High Court had asked the Government of India to ban the app for promoting pornography and inappropriate content. The court was hearing a PIL against TikTok when it asked the parent company to remove these videos, and the media to not to telecast such content. The Hon’ble court noted that the minors and children remain at risk of being targeted by sexual predators. As a result, the app was removed by Google Play and the App Store. Meanwhile, the company spokesperson went on record to comply with the order. The company had to remove more than six million videos for violating its guidelines and regulations.
While Madras High Court refused to reconsider the ban, Tamil Nadu High Court reversed the order in the hearing of a plea filed by the parent company, ByteDance Technology. A momentarily ban resulted in revenues and loss of more than 15 million new users for TikTok. However, TikTok’s India CEO, Nikhil Gandhi,ensured that it was a transient loss, and the app would grow by more than fifty per cent by the end of the year 2020.
Here’s the plot twist. It was before COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and with the sentiment against China raging in the general public, the Indian netizens promoted their agenda of TikTok ban in India rather furiously.
The controversy with TikTok isn’t inappropriate “bite-sized” information alone but data theft as well. The Peterson Institute for International Economics described TikTok as Huawei problem posing a security theft to the country.
According to this American think tank, the app could reveal the location, biometric data and image of armed forces personnel using TikTok. The app is under the legal binding of China Internet Security Law to share its data with the Chinese government. The fact that the ByteDance’s CEO and Founder Zhang Yiming Zhang Yiming reiterated his commitment to cooperate and deepen ties with the Communist Party of China entirely is enough to raise some prominent eyebrows.
Washington Post also revealed that the Chinese bosses often had the final word regarding content moderation.
TikTok’s brush with controversy isn’t limited to India alone. However, the issues are mostly the same. It was banned in Indonesia and Bangladesh for promoting inappropriate content, pornography, blasphemy and gambling. The ban in Indonesia was lifted after the app designated a team of twenty people to monitor the content. The app doesn’t have a history of a smooth run at the home ground either. Its Chinese counterpart, Douyin too was under investigation by the Chinese watchdogs for promoting teenage pregnancies.
The list of 100 types of objectionable content was released soon after by the Chinese authorities that it would censor. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the inappropriate content types was the 2019 Hong Kong Protest. Since then, the app has blocked the users and censored video content on the abject and abysmal state of human rights in China, Xinjiang re-education camps, and minority abuse by the authorities. It suspended the account of Feroza Aziz for posting a video drawing the attention towards the plight of Uyghurs detention camps in China. Later, the removal was attributed to human error and the account reinstated.
The Indian netizens also worked overtime to downgrade the ratings of the app on Google Playstore, which were later reinstated by weeding out fake and spam reviews.
Indian TikTok Alternative
Mitron: The rise and shameful fall of Indian TikTok Alternative
Several Indian politicians have called out TikTok and have demanded its policies to be more regulated and in line with Indian sensibilities. Meanwhile, a TikTok clone app, called Mitron blew the Indian internet-dom and had a record five million download within days. But then this happened.
India’s answer to the “Chinese” app TikTok had its source code bought from a Pakistan-based software developing company, Qboxus for mere $34 or Rs. 2,500!
Bolo Indya: Will India speak for the app?
According to its founder, Varun Saxena, the Bolo Indya app wants to become a strong contender in the domain of #edutiktok. The founder wants to push content that is entertaining but also informational and serves a greater purpose.
The Bolo Indya app is available in ten Indian languages and claims to have more than 2.75 lakh daily active users. The app claims to use an access control mechanism to ensure the security of its users.
Roposo: So-so or So wow?
Roposo has been around since 2014 but somehow missed its boat to insane popularity. Wanting to hop on to the crazy wagon once again, it is now coming strong as a worthy alternative. While the core idea of making and watching video is same, it has quite a few unique features up its sleeve such as TV-like browsing, chat between buyers and sellers, audio voice-overs, GIF stickers and so on.
While the question will TikTok be banned in India is out for us to see, but it does bring our cultural and moral issues on radar. The system is already broken. The app just exposed it for all to ponder and act upon. In a country, where rape culture, locker room chats, honour killing, the highest number of acid attacks and the lowest conviction rateare more of a norm; TikTok seems to be an easy scapegoat. The time is to not to be a keyboard warrior but work for real change while not letting any app go unscathed and without any repercussion.