The uprising tension between India and China has taken one more step, unlike the others, this one is a sort of digital war. On 19 June 2020 Indian government bans 59 applications, including TikTok: a short video app immensely popular in India.
Why did the Indian government ban 59 Chinese apps?
The banning of TikTok and other 58 Chinese applications by the Indian government is enforced under section 69A of the Information Technology Act 200; of the Indian constitution.
The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s officials said the action of banning the apps is “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, the security of state…”. The justification for the ban was; that the ministry has a few reports and various complaints “for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data”. The officials said that the user’s data were sent to a few unauthorized servers, outside the country.
This is not the first time ban of TikTok in India, before this in 2019 Madras High court put a ban on TikTok in its state. The ban then was put because the application was accused to spread nudity, and promote pornography amongst youngsters, and stating it to be “dangerous for children”. But the ban was lifted in less than a week. The court concluded that the ban was just for protecting children as India does not have US COPPA for providing protection from cybercrime.
The motive behind the ban
The Ban on Chinese apps by India is claimed to be enforced for the sovereignty and defense purposes of the nation, but this might not be the only reason behind the action. Recently, the Indian and Chinese armies had the deadliest faceoff in the last 45 years. For quite some time both country’s relationship is bad. Banning Chinese applications reveals the deepening of hatred between the two neighbors.
The Chinese market has rooted very deep in most countries. India like most of the country has become very much dependent on China and its product. By banning the Chinese applications India is trying to make itself less dependent on China. This was also the reason for the US-China trade war.
India-China Trade: The trade between India and China is very much imbalanced. According to the financial year 2018-19, China has imported 70 Billion Dollars of products from India; Whereas the export from India to China was only 16.7 billion Dollars; This imbalance is a ‘Trade Deficit’ which is 53 billion Dollars. In the past year, the Trade Deficit between India and China is constantly increasing, which means that India is becoming extensively dependent on China.
The ban is a step toward becoming less dependent on China. But TikTok, the short video application has a huge market in India and is a source of income for many. So what impacts would it have on India?
What is TikTok?
Tiktok is the world’s 7th most widely used application. The application is a short video platform, where creators can shoot video using different sounds and then post it.
TikTok is known as Douyin in China and was launched in 2016. The application is owned by the ByteDance company; whose CEO is Zhang Yiming.
The short video application stands out to be one of the most successful Chinese applications to be used worldwide. Despite being launched in 2016 the application is the most downloaded application in the 2010s. Currently, TikTok is available in 150 markets, in 39 languages; with 500 million TikTok users globally (active users in a month).
The application is the 6th most used app on Android and iOS and the most used app by the ByteDance company; amongst the rest is the top five, 4 is by Facebook while 1 is by Tencent.
TikTok in India
TikTok has over 100 Million active users in India which accounts for 30.3% of total global users. India has accounted for 611 million downloads since the app launched. After the ban of TikTok, TikTok India’s head Nikhil Gandhi stated that, for TikTok, its user’s privacy is a prior concern; and all its data privacy and security is strictly according to Indian Laws.
TikTok has was always on the hit-list of most governments. This tells that there is some shady truth behind the app that makes it unacceptable for most of the government. Following are a few cons of the short video app:
Cons of TikTok
- Social media is already deducing our attention span, TikTok has taken it to an extreme level. For watching one TikTok video a person just need 10-15 seconds of time. In today’s day, our penitence has level has fallen so low that we need something entertaining every minute. For a person having an attention span of 15 seconds, it would be very difficult for the person to concentrate, or focus for too long. This is very bad for our mental health as well as our focus.
- TikTok is passive and extremely addictive. Passive means that the viewer does not need to do a lot of action on their part; TikTok does that for you. The problem with this is, that whenever anything is this passive, then that thing becomes more addicting. TikTok, as compared to other social media platforms, is extensively addicting because the viewer does not need to do anything.
- It is a huge distraction for children, in the age of building carers, children indulge themselves in this and therefore destroy their career. In the 15-second duration, it is not possible to learn something fruitful and new. TikTok is definitely not meant for students, but inversely most of its users are youngsters, especially in India.
But TikTok is not a complete waste. The application has several pros that lead to its huge success of the app globally. Following are some of the pros of TikTok
Pros of TikTok
- The application is available in 14 Indian languages, which makes it extremely feasible for its users.
- TikTok has become one of the easiest ways for people to showcase their talent from the boundary of their homes.
- For many people, TikTok has become a major source of earning while for a few the only way of earning.
- The Entry Barrier in TokTok is very low. It does not demand much of the gadgets. It gives equal chances to the poor as well as the privileged section of society.
Aftermaths of the Ban
The Ban on the Chinese apps is a strategic move by the Indian Government. There have been such bans in the past but were lifted for some time. This ban might not be lifted that soon because of the current relationship status between India and China.
Speculations are that TikTok may approach legal action against the ban. If the ban stands for a long time the Chinese company will go under huge loss and might also worsen the already worsening relationship between the two nuclear-armed countries.