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China-based TikTok and other apps are banned in India following border conflict

National security concerns are cited as the reason the Indian IT ministry is shutting down access to 59 Chinese apps.

China-based TikTok and other apps are banned in India following border conflict
[Photo: iStock]

TikTok, ShareIt, WeChat, and 56 other Chinese apps have been banned in India over what the government called national security concerns.

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The Times of India reported that the IT Ministry said:

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data . . . ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.”

Although the ban comes close on the heels of a border battle that saw both India and China suffer casualties, according to a report in The New York Times, this question of data privacy and security has been nearly universal around TikTok. The social network for sharing short videos has steadily accumulated a massive user base among the younger Gen Z set. And this isn’t the first time India banned the app.

Last April, an Indian court shut TikTok down because it was leaving children open to sexual predators, cyberbullies, and porn. The decision was overturned after TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance said it dealt with those concerns.

In February 2019, TikTok paid a $5.7 million fine to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because Musical.ly, the platform it acquired in 2017, had been collecting personal data from kids under 13. A report for Fast Company last year noted that after TikTok paid that fine it added online safety videos and comment filters to its app.

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About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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