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Explained: Why Did India Ban TikTok?

Published August 11, 2023

Ever since its appearance on the social media scene in 2016, TikTok has been at the center of many disputes over its owner and data-sharing policies. These controversies culminated in 2020 when the Indian government banned the app on its entire territory.

Why did the Indian authorities ban TikTok? And will any other countries follow suit? Read on to find out!

Why Did the Indian Government Ban TikTok?

Soon after TikTok gained popularity, it was revealed that the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese Company founded by Zhang Yiming. This fact raised alarms in most parts of the world, as countries feared the app was collecting user data and making it available to the Chinese government.

This fear and distrust were present in most countries where TikTok was available, including the US and India. In fact, both governments immediately started investigations into the matter, trying to determine whether the app was exploiting its users in any way.

In 2020, Indian lawmakers decided to ban the app in the country after their investigation showed that the app was selling data to the Chinese government. The app’s India HQ vehemently denied these accusations, claiming that their company was based outside of China. As such, it had no responsibility to comply with the country’s data laws.

However, the Indian government would not let up. The ban came into effect in 2020, after which the app was no longer available in the country. As of right now, India has no future plans to lift the ban.

It is important to note that this decision came right after an incident that occurred at the India-China Himalayan border. Still, India claims that the altercation had nothing to do with the overall decision.

Will Anyone Else Follow Suit?

As already mentioned, India was not the only country with data-sharing concerns. The US, along with several European countries, also shared its fear of interference from the Chinese government endangering user security. To that end, US lawmakers have tried to ban the app once during the Trump administration, but the motion ultimately failed. Still, the efforts are ongoing, as the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently voted in favor of a plan to ban the app in the US. If the House of Representatives and the Senate also approve the plan, President Biden will have executive power to ban TikTok and any other apps that threaten national security. 

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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