After TikTok ban in India, will PUBG & Alibaba face the lash?

With the ban imposed the Indian government on dozens of Chinese apps including TikTok, the company has come up with a clarification stating it “continued to comply with data privacy and security requirements under Indian law” and did not share any user information with any of the foreign governments including the Chinese government as alleged.

The statement came in response to the banning of the app along with other 58 Chinese apps in India. While some call it a tactic move the Indian government after the tragic border clash at Galwan Valley, others find the base in Apple’s iOS 14 feature that caught TikTok snooping into the iPhone’s clipboard without the user’s knowledge, hence raising questions over user privacy.

Many TikTok influencers posted videos expressing their displeasure before the app stopped. However questions like will pre-installed apps including TikTok work? How will the ban be implemented? Is the ban permanent? Are answers people are looking forward to. MP Manish Tiwari posed some serious questions on the ban.

The government said the apps like TikTok, WeChat, Helo, UC Browser, Shein, CamScanner, Mi Community, Likee, Bigo Live and Vigo Video were found flouting section 69A of the IT Act.

Will the ban imposed be permanent?

TikTok was briefly banned in India last year on orders of Madras High Court for promoting pornography. The ban was soon lifted as the company told the Supreme Court the ban cost it roughly $15 million a month. However, lawyers say chances of success of a legal challenge this time are slim as the government had invoked national security concerns.

How will the ban be implemented?

The government has instructed Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block the apps, after which users are getting to see a display message restricting access to the said apps. Though Google Play Store and Apple App Store have pulled TikTok down, there are chances you might see the option on them if the aforesaid app is already installed in your phone. However, the app will not work and a similar message will be displayed.

The connection to the app server will not happen. The second layer of ban will come in the form of downloads of updates and patches that may make the apps redundant for existing users.

What if the apps are already installed in the phone?

The government has conveyed a message to ISPs and telecom service providers to block all data traffic linked to the banned Chinese apps. Once the process is complete, these apps will automatically become non-functional default.

Are there any apps similar to TikTok?

There are many Indian short video apps available on Google Play store and Apple App store including Chingaria, Bolo Indya, Roposo, Mitron, among others.

This is a very good step taken the Govt of India and the IT Ministry of India, For a very long time Tik Tok has been spying on users and sending back the data to china. We are happy that this step has been finally taken. I thank and congratulate Narendra Modi sir. And we assure we would like to welcome all the users of TikTok to come and try our Chingari, which is a 100% India grown app, and made for the passionate Indians.

-Sumit Ghosh, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Chinagri App

Will the government return the TikTok donation made to the PM CARES Fund after imposing the ban?

Questions on government are being continuously raised as to what will happen to the donation made TikTok and other Chinese apps into PM CARES Fund for COVID-19 relief. TikTok had donated Rs 30 crore to PM-CARES Fund in April along with other China-based companies such as Xiaomi (10 crore), Huawei (7 crore), Oppo (1 crore) and OnePlus (1 crore) had also donated to the fund. However, no statement has been issued yet from the government’s end.

Will a similar ban be imposed on PUBG?

PUBG has managed to remain out of the “banned apps list in India”. However, speculations and questions on its ban are continuously growing. As per AppAnnie, PUBG is classified as one of the two unicorn mobile games in India with 50M downloads and 33M active users. 

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