This story has been updated after Google blocked access to 59 apps on the PlayStore as per the orders by the government of India.
Google has said that it has temporarily blocked access to the 59 apps that have been banned by the Indian government. On the list are popular apps like TikTok, ShareIT, BIGO Live and UC Browser.
Earlier, TikTok CEO, Kevin Mayer, wrote a letter to the company’s employees in India after the app was banned by the government citing privacy issues and a threat to national security.
TikTok is among the 59 Chinese apps that have been banned in India, a list which has names like ShareIT, CamScanner and UCBrowser among others.
Other banned apps like Bigo Live have also come out with a statement in response to the Indian government’s move.
'No Plans to Pursue Legal Action': TikTok
Amid the speculations about TikTok pursuing legal action regarding the directive by the government, the company said it has no such plans.
"We have no plans to pursue such action. We are committed to working with the government to address its concerns. We comply with the laws and regulations of the Government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us," said the spokesperson.
Earlier, Mayer said in a company blog post, “At TikTok, our efforts are guided by our commitment to democratising the internet. To a large extent, we believe we have been successful in this effort. Our platform has encountered an unfortunate challenge in India. However, we stay resolved and committed to our mission, and are working with stakeholders to address their concerns. TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and places the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.”
‘A Message to Our Indian Employees’
“Our employees are our biggest strength, and their well-being is our topmost priority. We have also assured the more than 2,000 strong workforce that we will do everything in our power to restore the positive experiences and opportunities that they can be proud of.”
“We have been heartened and encouraged by your love and support for our platform, and promise to live up to the trust and faith you have showed in us. We look forward to continuing playing an active role in the mainframe of Digital India,” he added.
Kevin Mayer, who is the chief operations officer (COO) of ByteDance, the same company which owns TikTok and other video apps like Helo, has assured the company’s Indian contingent that the company will continue to have a presence in India.
Google has also released a statement saying that it’s complying with the government’s orders of blocking the apps.
“While we continue to review the interim orders from the Government of India, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India,”Google Spokesperson
“We respect the Indian government’s order and will temporarily take off Bigo Live from Google Play and App Store in India until there is further clarity provided on this matter. Bigo Live is under the Singapore based BIGO Technology and we hold utmost priority to the compliance of all local laws as well as the privacy and security of all our users. We will be working closely with the Indian government under the local legal framework.”BIGO Live
Message for Content Creators
Mayer also has a message for the content creators in the country who are worried about the future of the app and also the content and followers that they have garnered over the past few years that the app has been in India.
“Our creator managers are actively engaging with our top creators to reassure them of our efforts and updates about the path forward,” Mayer mentioned in the letter.
Since many creators were under the impression that their data will be deleted from the app, this message from Mayer gives them some hope.
TikTok has been taken down from the Google PlayStore and the Apple app store after the India government sent them a notice to take the app down.
Telecom operators and internet service providers have also been asked to stop the exchange of data for banned apps like TikTok.
The app has a subscriber base of more than 200 million users in India and has amassed over 2 billion downloads on Google PlayStore.
This is a developing story. More details on company responses will be added later.