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Answer queries or face ban: Govt to Tiktok, Helo

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 19, 2019 00:13 IST
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The government has issued notices to social media platforms Tiktok and Helo along with a set of 21 questions threatening to ban these apps if it does not receive appropriate response, official sources said.

The Centre has warned these apps that they might face a ban if they do not submit appropriate responses by July 22, the sources added.

The action from the ministry of electronics and information technology follows complaint by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch to the prime minister, in which it alleged that the platforms are being used for anti-national activities.

When contacted, Tiktok and Helo in a joint statement said they have plans to invest $1 billion over the period of next three years to develop technology infrastructure and owns responsibility of local community.


Meity has sought reply from TikTok and Helo on allegation that these platforms have become "a hub of anti-national activities", and has sought assurance that the data of Indian users are not being transferred at present and will not be transferred in future also "to any other foreign government or any third party or private entity", according to sources.

Meity has also sought response on the initiative being taken to check fake news and steps being taken to be compliant under Indian laws.

The IT ministry has asked explanation from Helo on allegation that it has paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.

Flagging concerns around the violation of child privacy norms, the ministry has sought explanation on why the minimum entry age has been fixed at 13 years since a person below 18 is considered a child in India.

Meity also asked TikTok and Helo about excessive data collected by them, number and kind of information sought by law enforcement agencies, employees and offices they have in India, details of charges and outcome of investigation by the UK Information Commission against TikTok, and if minors are prevented from watching content with 'risk warning tag', the sources said.

TikTok and Helo are owned by China-based internet firm ByteDance.

In their joint statement, TikTok and Helo said they are grateful for the immense support given by India's growing digital community.

"Our continued success in India will not be possible without the support of our local community. We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the Government to meet and exceed our obligations," the statement said.

India is one of the strongest market for TikTok and Helo.

"In line with our commitment to India, we are investing $1 billion dollars in India over the next three years, with a strategic focus on developing technology infrastructure, establishing local partnerships and supporting initiatives such as the Skill India Program which we are proud to be assisting with already," the statement said.

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