The Supreme Court today asked the Madras High Court to decide on its interim ban on Chinese-owned TikTok video app by Wednesday. The ban on the video app, which claims to have more than 54 million active users in India, will be lifted if the high court fails to give its decision on a plea filed by Chinese company Bytedance, which owns TikTok, the top court has said.
Bytedance, in its petition, told the top court that the interim order was passed without hearing them.
The top court had earlier refused to stay the Madras High Court interim order that directed the centre to ban the video app over concerns that it encourages pornography.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court, which is hearing another petition that alleges the app "degrades culture and encourages pornography", had earlier said children who were using TikTok were vulnerable to exposure to sexual predators.
TikTok's inappropriate content was a dangerous aspect of the app, the high court had noted. The next hearing in the high court order is scheduled for Wednesday.
Challenging the high court order on TikTok, an app that allows users to create and share short videos with special effects, Bytedance had told the Supreme Court that such restrictions will "hurt free speech". A ban "amounts to curtailing of the rights of the citizens of India...who have been using the platform everyday to express themselves and create content," the company said in a court filing reviewed by Reuters, asking for the order to be quashed.
The Chinese app developer also said that users flagged only a tiny proportion of TikTok videos, showing that a "very minuscule" proportion of its content was considered inappropriate or obscene
TikTok, which was launched in 2019, is a social video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Co.
It reached the one billion download mark in February. It was the fourth most-downloaded non-game app in 2018; and it was also among the internet companies that recently agreed to come up with a model code document for themselves on the lines of the model code of conduct for the upcoming national election and for the future, in an attempt to curb fake news on social media.
(With inputs from agencies)
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