TikTok Banned In India For Pornography Only? Not Really

If someone hasn’t downloaded TikTok, the viral video-sharing app by the Chinese company ByteDance, from the Indian app store, he might not be able to ever use the app.

TikTok has disappeared from the Google and Apple app stores in India following a ban by the federal government on April 16. Madras High court believes in its interim order that TikTok is exposing children to pornographic and inappropriate video content.

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Inappropriate content, or pornography, has long been TikTok’s barriers in global expansion. But that is not the only reason why TikTok is banned in India at this time of the year.

What time of the year? The 2019 Indian general election is being held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

India’s Election Commission is paying attention to the potential sabotage that TikTok might cause on the social media.

The Delhi state unit of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained to the Election Commission on March 29 that ByteDance, which it identified as a Chinese company, was “interfering in the Indian election process through its social media applications,” according to Business Insider India.

Complaints were made against Helo, an app also by ByteDance, for featuring doctored pictures of politicians with sensationalised text. 11,000 political ads by Helo were later taken down.

“What got TikTok and ByteDance into trouble might not entirely be its inappropriate content. It’s because of the Indian general election,” said He Yun, who majored in Southeast Asian languages at Peking University, “Things happen during the election year, and TikTok jumped into the fire.”

The next hearing has been scheduled on April 24. TikTok’s future will be decided then.