Google, Apple removes TikTok from app store after court orders

Google, Apple removes TikTok from app store after court orders

New Delhi: Tech-giants Google and Apple have blocked the availability criteria of a popular video app, Musically.in changed-to TikTok in India, to comply with a state court’s directive to prohibit its downloads.
The block comes after Tamil Nadu, a southern state, refused a request by China’s Bytedance Technology to suspend a ban on its TikTok app, putting its future in one of its key markets in doubt.
The state court on 3 April asked the government to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators. Its ruling came after an individual launched public interest litigation calling for a ban.
The government had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the state court’s order, according to an IT ministry official.
The app was still available on Apple’s platforms late on Tuesday but was no longer available on Google’s Play store in India. Google said in a statement it does not comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws. Apple did not respond to requests for comment, while TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Google’s move.
Bytedance challenged the state court’s ban order in India’s Supreme Court last week, saying it went against freedom of speech rights in India.
The top court had referred the case back to the state court, where a judge on Tuesday rejected Bytedance’s request to put the ban order on hold, K. Neelamegam, a lawyer arguing against Bytedance in the case, said.
The state court has requested written submissions from Bytedance in the case and has scheduled its next hearing for April 24. Salman Waris, a technology lawyer at TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors, said the legal action against Bytedance could set a precedent of Indian courts intervening to regulate content on social media and other digital platforms.

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