Briefing: Bytedance tells India’s top court that TikTok ban will harm free speech
Apr 11, 2019
What happened: Bytedance submitted a filing to India’s Supreme Court to rescind a call from an Indian court to ban short video app TikTok, stating that the ban will hurt free speech rights, Reuters reported. The company also argued that only a “very minuscule” portion of content on the platform is inappropriate, and that it couldn’t be held liable for content created by users. A court in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu requested a country-wide ban on TikTok last week, accusing it of encouraging pornography and predatory behaviors on young users.
Why it’s important: TikTok has been under fire in India for spreading harmful content, but this is the first time that Bytedance’s legal efforts to address the situation have been revealed. However, it is uncertain whether India’s Supreme Court will rule in favor of the company. While TikTok has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, Bytedance only employs around 250 people in the country—far from sufficient to monitor the non-English content created by users.