TikTok’s parent company ByteDance will soon set up data centres in India, after facing scrutiny from the government regarding the storage of Indian users’ data. Social media video apps are a sensation among the youth of the country and offer a number of options to record lip sync videos. The most popular among these are TikTok, Helo, and Musical.ly. Considering the various cases of obscenity and anti-nationalism that have been reported in the last few days against these social media platforms, the Government of India had put forward a set of questions regarding user safety, data storage and legal compliance to the parent companies of these apps.

In response to this, ByteDance has now said that it is planning to set up data centres in India. This will not only help in increased and better communication between the company and the government but will also help in ensuring the no data is misused by any foreign company. This development came after the government decided to scrutinize the app. “We are now in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within the Indian borders,” the company said.

The IT ministry has also asked for an explanation from Helo on the allegations that it has paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.

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App Promoting Anti National Activities And Child Pornography?

“As alleged in news items, the platforms (TikTok and Helo) have become a hub for anti-national activities. Please share your response,” read one of the questions sent by the Ministry of Electronics and IT. The request to scrutinize the mode of operation of the Chinese app Tik Tok was made by RSS affiliated-Swadeshi Jagran Manch, after which the government decided to question the app regarding its operation. Reportedly, the app stores data in US and Singapore only, and not in its home country China.

Possibility That The Data Might Be Misused

The Indian government also asked the companies behind these apps about whether they store the data locally too. “Could you confirm/assure the Indian Government that the data of Indian users will not be shared with any foreign government or any third party or private entity?” and “Are Tik Tok and Helo considering storing/processing the data in India itself?” is what the govenrment has demanded to know. The app has faced the wrath of government in a prior case too, where it was banned in April following accusations of a data breach.

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Other concerns

Some other concerns raised in the government enquiry are as follows:

  • What measures have been taken to create awareness among children and parents to ensure safe use of the platform and to avoid any addictiveness of the application?
  • Explicitly confirm your policy on obscene content and preventive/corrective measures.
  • List steps taken to create awareness among children and parents to ensure safe use and avoid addictiveness.
  • Has Helo paid a huge sum for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on other social media platform?

TikTok is one of the world’s most popular apps now and is used to create short videos with special effects. The court order that banned Tik Tok in April, said that TikTok enabled “cultural degradation and pornography” and also cited concerns that young users on the platform were putting their privacy at risk. The order also extended the ruling to media outlets, banning them from using Tik Tok footage in their reporting.

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