Google has obeyed an Indian court order to block the access of popular app TikTok over government concerns with illicit content, reports a person familiar with the decision. This step might create trouble for the app owner, China’s Bytedance Ltd., which is the world’s most-highly valued startup, in one of its most promising markets.
Earlier, the court has asked the federal government to ban TikTok, referred concerns the video-sharing mobile application exposed children to troubling content, and pornography, the proposal was fought by Bytedance but was overruled by Regulators directed Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to eliminate TikTok from their app stores.
However, a spokesperson from Google has declined to comment on the issue. A representative from Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The court ruling further limited future downloads of the popular app in India, not existing downloads, said the person, who has been asked not to be identified discussing private issues.
A spokesperson of Bytedance has declined to comment on the app store decisions, but replied with a statement from Tiktok India, which reads: “We have faith in the Indian judicial system,” adding that “and we are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India.”
Across Asia, India is one of several nations adopting more draconian oversight of internet companies, similar to the means China regulates the web.
Bytedance Ltd. creates new-reading and social apps have most of its users and sales in China. However, TikTok has exploded in popularity elsewhere, offering Bytedance more global reach than any than other Chinese tech company. Investors have also valued it at $75 billion and also made a substantial push in India, where a vast number of customers use phones running Google’s Android software.
Earlier, Reuters has alleged removal of TikTok from Google’s app store in India.