Google has blocked access to the hugely popular video app TikTok in India to comply with the Madras High Court’s directive to prohibit its downloads, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
The move comes hours after the high court 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 high court had on April 3 asked the centre to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators.
Its ruling came after an individual launched a public interest litigation calling for a ban. The centre had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the high court’s order, according to an IT ministry official. The app was no longer available on Google’s Play store in India late on Tuesday. Google said in a statement it does not comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws.
More than 30 million users in India installed it in January 2019, 12 times more than in the same month last year. Jokes, clips and footage related to India’s thriving movie industry dominate the app’s platform, along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music.
TikTok earlier said in a statement that it had faith in the Indian judicial system and was “optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by millions” of its users.