Briefing: Indian state lawmaker seeks Tiktok ban over harmful and vulgar content

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Tamil Nadu government wants statewide ban on short video app TikTok – Economic Times

What happened: The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu will start a dialogue with the Central Legislative Assembly, the lower house of India’s legislature, to ban Bytedance-owned short video app Tiktok in Tamil Nadu for spreading harmful and sexually explicit content. The lawmaker who initiated the debate told The Economic Times that Tiktok acted as a platform for discussions that threaten social security.  Tiktok said in a response that it was hiring someone to better cooperate with law enforcement agencies. According to a Bytedance job posting on Linkedin two weeks ago, the position will be located in Gurugram, a city near New Delhi.

Why it’s important: This is the first time that Tiktok is faced with the prospect of a ban in India, where it had close to 25 million active users as of January, according to analytics from SimilarWeb. The Bytedance app has been accused before of disseminating racist content and hate speech, and of having little oversight of vulgar content. The recent development could be a reminder for the viral short video app to step up its in-app regulations, without which it may face backlash on a greater scale.