Short video app TikTok, which was recently banned in India, along with 58 other Chinese apps, has denied pursuing legal action against the Indian government’s directive. “There have been statements in the press concerning the possibility that TikTok might pursue legal action regarding the directive by the Government of India. We have no plans to pursue such action. We are committed to working with the government to address its concerns. We comply with the laws and regulations of the Government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to MediaNama.
TikTok’s statement presumably comes in response to an Economic Times report which said that the company was considering legal options against the ban, and had held discussions with a Mumbai-based law firm to consider its options. The report suggested that TikTok was planning to approach the government arguing against having misused any user data, and would have initiated legal action depending on the government’s response. There were also some reports that said that former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi, and Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi have denied representing TikTok in court.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology late Monday night had decided to block 59 apps, all from Chinese companies — including TikTok, Shein, Clash of Kings, Shareit — based on information that these apps are “engaged in activities which [are] prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. The blocking order was issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, and had come amid heightened tensions between India and China. All defence personnel were also “advised” to delete the 59 apps and refrain from using them.
By Tuesday morning, ByteDance-owned apps which were on the blocking list — TikTok, Helo, and Vigo Video — disappeared from both Apple and Google’s app stores. Following that, users who already had the TikTok app installed, saw a “user notice” after opening the app, saying that it was complying with the Indian government’s order. As of now, no content shows up on the app, and it shows a network error.
Watch: India-China cyber face-off
Read our coverage of Chinese app ban move:
- India blocks access to 59 apps including TikTok, Shein, UC Browser over national security and privacy issues
- India’s app ban decision ‘suspects’ of violating WTO rules: Chinese Embassy
- Google, Apple remove majority of the banned Chinese apps, some still up on their app stores