Chinese social media applications TikTok and Helo are facing condemnation from Indian politicians and right wing outfits for spreading "anti-national" content. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban these apps, alleging they are detrimental for India's national security and start-up ecosystem, and violated India's regulation on foreign funding in media.
"To prevent such applications from operating in India, we would humbly request the creation of a new law that requires testing and also regulation to protect our national security as well as the privacy of Indian users from countries with inimical interests to India. Until such a law is notified, all such Chinese apps, including TikTok and Helo should be banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs," SJM said in an email sent to the government.
Besides, in the latest Parliament proceedings, several MPs accused TikTok of spreading 'fake news' and 'malicious content', and sharing user data with the Chinese government, prompting politicians, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to call for its ban in India. "Recently, the federal regulators in the US slapped a fine of 5.7 million dollars on TikTok for illegally collecting data on children,"said Tharoor. He further added, that thee are reports that the Chinese government is receiving data from the the app. The senior Congress leader then described it as a 'national issue' and said he would urge government to introduce a detailed legal framework to safeguard right to privacy and save India's democracy.
However, TikTok has discarded the allegations, stating that Indian users' data was stored in encrypted third-party data facilities in the US and China. At present, TikTok has nearly 20 crore subscribers in India, of which 12 crore are active monthly users. Helo, a regional chatting app, has a user base of 5 crore in India. Trouble for TikTok started after the Madras High Court on April 3 ordered to ban the app in India after it was alleged that the video-sharing app was disseminating obscene content. TikTok was made banned briefly before the court lifted the ban on the condition that it would stop promoting "obscene videos".