The greatest risk to TikTok’s global dominance may be a new ruling from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that bans the app along with 58 other China-based apps in a bid to re-establish India’s defense, security, “sovereignty and integrity.” TikTok‘s controversial universal presence hasn’t been without challenge with the American goverment called it a security risk, hackers have challenged its security. Its parent, Bytedance, has been sued over perceived child privacy violations.
With over 2 billion downloads, TikTok has so far been able to ignore or combat legislative threats, but this is a new kind of challenge. TechCrunch reports that “nearly half of India’s 1.3 billion population” is online and that the ban would affect “roughly 1 in 3 smartphone users in India,” though that migh not be only from TikTok users, but it does reflect the immense app-usage among the Indian population.
The New Delhi-based Ministry of Electronics and IT was joined by the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and Ministry of Home Affairs in proposing this new order, allongside by “representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues,” it said in a statement. “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.”
India’s terms for the ban has not been completely explained and both Google‘s Play Store and Apple‘s App Store still offer the 59 cited apps for download in India. TechCrunch reports that Google hasn’t yet been given orders from New Delhi, while Apple reported that it was reviewing the order. When TikTok was blocked for a single week in India, ByteDance reported that it was losing over $500,000 USD a day.
Tension between India and China has rised and the new ban is unlikely to cease hostilities. You can review the complete list online of banned Chinese apps in the Ministry of Electronics and IT’s statement, here: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1635206