India bans TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps over security concerns

A TikTok logo is seen on a mobile device in Mountain View, California on November 2, 2019 as a photo illustration.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The Indian government this week banned dozens of Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok, over alleged security issues.

According to a release, India’s Ministry of Information Technology “has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.”

TikTok, operated by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, allows users to create short videos and overlay voices or music. The app, which surpassed 2 billion downloads in April, has found a huge market in India, according to Sensor Tower. Roughly 30% of downloads came from India, according to the data analytics firm. TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The app has been blocked in the nation before. Last May, the Indian government banned the app’s downloads for two weeks, after a court ruled that it could expose children on the app to sexual predators and graphic content. (TikTok appealed and the court reversed its ruling.)

Along with TikTok, the government banned high-profile Chinese apps WeChat, a messaging app, and Weibo, a Chinese social network that’s similar to Twitter

The ban comes amid recent geopolitical tensions with China. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash between Chinese troops earlier this month in a region that has not seen any fatalities from conflict since 1975. In this confrontation, both countries claimed the others’ troops had moved in and overstepped the boundary.

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