Facing prospect of ban, Bytedance says it ‘has faith’ in India’s judicial system

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As legal efforts aimed at banning the Bytedance app in India gain momentum, the Chinese company behind the short video app that’s known internationally at TikTok has expressed its confidence in the Indian legal system.

“At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011,” the company said in a statement issued to TechNode.

“We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India,” the statement added. “In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content.”

The statement comes amid a series of decisions concerning a potential ban on its short video app TikTok in the country. On Monday, the Supreme Court of India refused to stay an order made by the Madras High Court on April 3 to ban the short video app. The stay on the High Court’s order was requested by Bytedance, who stated in a court filing that the ban would hurt Indian people’s free speech rights.

While Bytedance argued in the filing that it shouldn’t be held liable for content created by users, it has apparently since made moves to give itself a better look.

In the statement to TechNode, the company said it has removed over 6 million videos that violated its Terms of Use and Community Guidelines. This had taken place “following an exhaustive review of content generated by our users in India,” it added.

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court will hear the case Tuesday, and the Supreme Court will hold another hearing on April 22.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday, another Indian government department has joined in on the effort to remove the short video app from one of its largest markets.

On Tuesday, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asked Google and Apple to take down TikTok from their respective app stores, the Economic Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The MeitY order will stop further downloads of the app but doesn’t restrict the use of existing ones.

Bytedance has enjoyed wild growth in India, gaining an estimated 88.6 million new users in the country in the past quarter, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

However, it has also come under severe criticism in India in recent months, and has been accused of spreading pornography and encouraging hate speech and predatory behaviors.