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Facing Heat, TikTok Removes 60 Lakh Clips Over Rule Violations

Chinese video app TikTokhas removed over 60 lakh videos for violating content guidelines in India as it works to strengthen mechanisms to guard against the carriage of unlawful and obscene content on the platform, a top official has said.

The move comes at a time when the company is facing regulatory heat in India, and has been served with a notice by the government, seeking answers to two dozen questions that centre around unlawful usage by children to carriage of content which is obscene and allegedly anti-national. “At TikTok, we are committed to maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment for our users to showcase their creativity and talent. TikTok in no way endorses or promotes content that is in violation of our community guidelines,” Sachin Sharma, director (sales and partnerships) at TikTok India told TOI.

TikTok’s parent Beijing Bytedance Technology Co has said the app has over 20 crore users (downloads) in India, and is growing – both in terms of new user addition and also in terms of the content-traffic that they generate.

Sharma said that TikTok – which is available in 10 major Indian languages – is taking steps to ensure that unlawful content gets blocked before being released on the app. “As part of commitment towards providing a positive in-app environment, we have removed over 60 lakh videos since July 2018 for violating our ‘community guidelines’.”

The community guidelines of the company claim to check the transmission of content which is harmful or dangerous; contains shocking information; leads to discrimination or has hate speech; sexually exploits, targets, or endangers children; or promotes nudity or sexual activity.

TikTok features memes and short-format music videos with some clips showing youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-syncing and dancing to popular tunes. Cheap data prices and faster internet speed has seen a spurt in TikTok usage.

The company continues to face trouble with the government over the content it carries. It was served the notice by the ministry of electronics and IT (Meity), which had sought answers by the closing of Monday (July 22). The scrutiny by the ministry follows a complaint by the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch, which has also written to the PM alleging that the Chinese platforms are being used for anti-national and illegal activities.

ByteDance on Sunday said it is examining options to set up a data centre in India to locally store information of its Indian users.―Times of India

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