Govt issues notices to Tik Tok, Helo; sought response for 24 Questions before July 22

Tik Tok

It appears the micro-video site Tik Tok is not out of troubled waters yet! As per the latest news, the government has issued notices to both Tik Tok and Helo to respond to a set of 24 questions. The government gave a deadline until July 22 to respond to the questions and threatened to ban social media platforms if the answers are not satisfactory. The action from the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MietY) comes on the back of complaint from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which alleged that both the platforms are carrying out anti-national activities. The Chinese company, ByteDance developed both Tik Tok and Helo app.

Not long ago, Tik Tok was removed from the Google Play and App store in India, following an interim order from the Madras High Court. Later the app was restored to stores after receiving assurance from Tik Tok that they are working on methods to remove troublesome content. With the current order, the micro-video site may be banned in India if they do not offer a satisfactory response to the 24 questions posed by the government. Tik Tok has been hugely popular among the youth of India; the platform lets the users create short videos and share them. Currently, the platform has 800 million users in India, of which majority of them belong to India. TikTok has become the platform for many to showcase and share their skills ranging from Jokes, Political memes, and Social commentary.

The government sought assurance from Tik Tok that it would not share data of Indian users to any third party or foreign entity. MeitY also sought explanation regarding the child policy adopted by these platforms which set the entry age as 13 years. Besides, the government sought clarification from Helo on the allegations that the platform paid lump sum amounts to other media platforms to place 11,000 morphed photos political advertisements on social media sites.

Tik Tok and Helo issued a joint statement in response to the allegations and said that they would fully collaborate with the government to meet and exceed the obligations. Also, the platforms attributed the success to the local communities in India. They are further planning to invest $1billion over three years for developing infrastructure, for establishing local partnerships, and to support initiatives such as the Skill India Program.