Censorship of TikTok

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Various governmental agencies and private businesses have imposed bans on the social media service TikTok. India and the United States have expressed concerns about the app's ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance and have attempted to ban it from app stores, though in the case of the U.S. this ban has been halted in a legal dispute between TikTok and the Trump administration. In Indonesia and Bangladesh, the app has been banned citing concerns with pornography.


2019 provisional ban[edit]

On 3 April 2019, the Madras High Court while hearing a PIL had asked the Government of India to ban the app, citing that it "encourages pornography" and shows "inappropriate content". The court also noted that children and minors using the app were at risk of being targeted by sexual Creators. The court further asked broadcast media not to telecast any of those videos from the app. The spokesperson for TikTok stated that they were abiding by local laws and were awaiting the copy of the court order before they take action.,[1] On 17 April, both Google and Apple removed TikTok from Google Play and the App Store.[2] As the court refused to reconsider the ban, the company stated that they had removed over 6 million videos that violated their content policy and guidelines.[3]

On 25 April 2019, the ban was lifted after the Madras High Court reversed its order, following a plea from TikTok developer Bytedance Technology.[4][5] India's TikTok ban might have cost the app 15 million new users.[6]

2020 ban[edit]

TikTok was banned completely in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on 29 June 2020, along with 223 other Chinese apps,[7] with a statement saying they were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".[8] The ban was in response to a military clash between Indian and Chinese troops in a disputed territory along their shared border between Ladakh and western China.[9][10] The Indian government said the decision to ban the apps was "to protect the data and privacy of its 1.3 billion citizens" and put a stop to technology that was "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in unauthorised servers outside India".[10] [11] Dev Khare, a partner at the venture firm Lightspeed India said that although India's app ban was a populist "feel-good" step, he did not see it as a bad thing because "it's something that China did a long time ago" and "the rest of the world has the right to do it to China."[11]

United States[edit]

Other countries[edit]


On 3 July 2018, TikTok was temporarily banned in Indonesia after the Indonesian government accused it of promulgating "pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy."[12][13][14][15][16] Shortly afterwards, TikTok pledged to task 20 staff with censoring TikTok content in Indonesia,[13] and the ban was lifted 8 days later.[12]


In November 2018, the Bangladeshi government blocked the TikTok app's Internet access, even though TikTok had no connection to the reason for ban, which was pornography and gambling.[17]In August 2020, the government of Bangladesh drafted TikTok to remove 10 videos from the platform that were uploaded from the country. "The TikTok authorities have told the government they will take down “offensive” videos uploaded from Bangladesh", said the Minister of Post and Telecommunication of Bangladesh.


In October 2020, TikTok users in Armenia reported a loss of app functionality, although it has not been confirmed whether this was the result of any intervention by the Armenian government in response to the use of the app by Azerbaijani sources to spread misinformation during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.[18]


In October 2020, Pakistan ordered a ban of TikTok, which was reversed after ByteDance stated that they would remove objectionable TikTok content.[19]

In March 2021, Pakistan restored the ban after Pakistan Telecommunication Authority regulators said that ByteDance did not show that they could remove such content.[19]


  1. ^ "'It Encourages Pornography': Madras High Court Asks Government to Ban Video App TikTok". News18. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Apple, Google Block TikTok in India After Court Order". NDTV. 17 April 2019. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  3. ^ Chandrashekhar, Anandi (17 April 2019). "TikTok no longer available on Google and Apple stores". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 6 June 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  4. ^ "TikTok ban lifted in India but it has lost at least 2 million users". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  5. ^ "TikTok Ban in India Lifted by Madras High Court". beebom.com. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. ^ "India's TikTok Ban Might Have Cost the App 15 Million New Users". beebom.com. 3 May 2019. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  7. ^ Sabat, Surabhi (2 September 2020). "Full List Of 224 Chinese Apps Banned In India Till Date; Including PUBG, TikTok And Shein". Republic World. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  8. ^ "India bans TikTok and dozens more Chinese apps". BBC News. 29 June 2020. Archived from the original on 11 August 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  9. ^ Doval, Pankaj (30 June 2020). "TikTok, UC Browser among 59 Chinese apps blocked as threat to sovereignty". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (29 June 2020). "India bans TikTok after Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 29 June 2020.
  11. ^ a b Zhong, Raymond; Schultz, Kai (30 June 2020). "With India's TikTok Ban, the World's Digital Walls Grow Higher". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Indonesia overturns ban on Chinese video app Tik Tok". The Straits Times. Reuters. 11 July 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Chinese video app Tik Tok to set up Indonesia censor team to..." Reuters. 5 July 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019 – via uk.reuters.com.
  14. ^ "Indonesia blocks 'pornographic' Tik Tok app". DW.COM. 7 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  15. ^ Spence, Philip (16 January 2019). "ByteDance Can't Outrun Beijing's Shadow". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 16 January 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  16. ^ "TikTok parent ByteDance sues Chinese news site that exposed fake news problem". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 22 August 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Bangladesh 'anti-porn war' bans blogs and Google books". DW.COM. 25 February 2019. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Tik Tok fails operating in Armenia". armenpress.am. Armenpress. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  19. ^ a b Saifi, Sophia (12 March 2021). "Pakistan bans TikTok again". CNN. Retrieved 12 March 2021.