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Thursday 2 April 2020

TikTok spoiling future of kids, ban it, says Madras High Court

According to the HC, the app TikTok is playing with the future of youngsters, risking them to online abuse and promoting adult content

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Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to ban the popular Chinese video application TikTok. According to the court, this app is promoting pornography and is spoiling the future of youngsters in India.

The media also has been advised not to broadcast videos made using this app.

TickTok is an app where users can upload and share their short videos using certain special effects. There are about 54 million active users per month in India. It is becoming immensely popular, especially among children and teenagers.

Madurai senior counsel and social worker Muthu Kumar had filed a petition against the app delivering on which the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court made a hearing on Wednesday. The court said that the children who are using TikTok are at high risk of exposing themselves to online stalkers and falling prey to sexual abusers.

The petitioner asked the court to give instructions to the centre on banning this app, raising concerns like vulgar content, cultural degradation, child abuse, and increasing tendencies of suicide among the children.

Taking all these concerns into consideration, Justice N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar instructed the central government to respond by 16 April if it is considering to implement anything like the Children Online Privacy Protection Act of the US which was created solely for the protection of children from online abuse.

However, the spokesman for TikTok while talking to a news agency assured that the company is committed to complying with national laws and is waiting for a copy of the court’s order following which necessary and appropriate steps would be taken to address the concern. The company also added that “creating a safe and positive In-App environment… is our priority”.

Of late, people from different sections have raised serious concern over the app and its impact on society. Antisocial elements might have taken to the app using the loopholes in the current laws.

The online abusers are using the grey areas well in the absence of any strict online law. Just a few months ago, an AIADMK MLA from Tamil Nadu demanded a ban on this app citing that it is affecting our culture.

TikTok is run by a company with the same name based out of Beijing, China. It launched the video app in 2019.

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