TikTok previously said around six million videos have been taken off its platform for violating the company's community guidelines.
TikTok said it remains committed to “continuously enhancing” safety features for its 120 million users in India after the Madras High Court on Wednesday lifted ban on the short-video app. The Madras HC has lifted its earlier ban on the Chinese short-video app with the condition that the content hosted using it should be free from obscene videos of children and women. It also warned the company that if any controversial video violating its conditions is found posted using the app, it would be considered as contempt of court.
The Madras HC had on April 3 directed the Centre to ban the Chinese app voicing concern over “pornographic and inappropriate content” being made available through such apps. After the Supreme Court refused to stay the Madras HC order, tech giants Google and Apple had removed TikTok from their app stores in India to prohibit further downloads of the app. “We are glad about this decision and we believe it is also greatly welcomed by our thriving community in India, who use TikTok as a platform to showcase their creativity,” TikTok said in a statement.
It added that the company’s efforts to fight against misuse of the platform has been recognised. “The work is never done on our end. We are committed to continuously enhancing our safety features as a testament to our ongoing commitment to our users in India,” it said. E-mails sent to Apple and Google enquiring the duration it would take for the app to be restored on the app stores did not elicit any response.
TikTok’s parent company Bytedance has stated that it remains “very optimistic” about the Indian market and plans to invest USD 1 billion in the country over the next three years. Bytedance, which also offers platforms like Helo and Vigo Video in India, also plans to increase the number of employees in India to 1,000 persons by the end of this year and about 25 per cent of these roles will be in content moderation.
In a recent interview to PTI, ByteDance Director (International Public Policy) Helena Lersch had said the company already has a content moderation team in India and that it is strengthening the team further. “First is a tech approach — a machine learning tool that filters content and then it goes to a content moderation team.
In India, the team speaks 14 languages. I think it is fundamentally important that the team is based in the country and speaks local languages to make culturally relevant decisions,” she had stated. TikTok previously said around six million videos have been taken off its platform for violating the company’s community guidelines. India is a critical market for social media platforms given the large population of 1.3 billion people. With increasing availability of affordable smartphones and cheap data plans, the country is also the largest mobile data consumer market globally — an opportunity that global tech companies are vying to tap into.