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Social Media

What's happening to TikTok India? The anatomy of a giant controversy

NCW chief wants it banned, its users are uploading violent content against women, and its Play Store rating has dropped to 1.3 in less than two weeks.

TikTok India, on May 19, 2020, released a statement on its social media profiles in response to all the controversies surrounding it.

The caption on the post read, "TikTok is a platform that celebrates creativity & expression. We aim to create a positive in-app environment that brings people and communities together and request all our users to respect this intent."

According to businessofapps.com, India was the top market for TikTok app with 323 million downloads in 2019 and Entrackr sources state the company had earned about Rs 23 to 25 crore in revenue in the quarter ending December 2019.

Also Read: React to Roast: Is TikTok vs YouTube shaping up to become 'the' brand rivalry of our times?

But, negativity against TikTok India is on the rise. It started after one of its popular creators Amir Siddiqui posted a video where he laid several accusations against YouTube creators. In response, popular YouTuber CarryMinati (real name Ajey Nagar) responded with a roast that went viral.

Also Read: YouTube India removes CarryMinati's 'roast' video, says it violates its Terms of Service

Siddiqui responded with another video and after Carry's video was taken down, that's when the short-video app began to trend negatively with people calling for its ban.

Last year, on April 3, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court banned TikTok citing the spread of pornographic content which was later lifted.

But, the real impetus to ban the app started with BJP MLA Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga sharing a tweet on May 18,2020, that showed a TikTok video of Faisal Siddiqui, brother of Amir Siddiqui (the two along with others run a group account on TikTok called 'Team Nawab'.)

Bagga tagged NCW chief Rekha Sharma because the video promoted acid attacks on women. She responded on the same day, "I am taking it up today itself with both police and TikTok India."

Ire against Faisal Siddiqui and TikTok rose among netizens and calls for action against the TikToker and the app grew shriller every passing hour.

In an attempt to pacify people and explain his stand, Siddiqui uploaded a post on Instagram on May 18, 2020. The caption reads, "My Intention was never to hurt anyone in any capacity. As a social media influencer, I realize my responsibility and apologize to anyone who was offended by the video 🙏🏻 @ncwindia"

@thelaxmiagarwalpihu

Dosto Nafrat failane vale ko aap sab support kar rahe hai ab apko ye sikhaya ja raha hai tezab kese dale chiii 😠😠😠😠😠😠

♬ original sound - thelaxmiagarwalpihu

Acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal (the movie Chhapaak starring Deepika Padukone was based on her life) responded to the video and called out Faisal for promoting acid attacks and TikTok India for allowing such creators on its platform.

Pooja Bhatt too echoed a similar sentiment.

The NCW chief tweeted on May 18, 2020, that she has contacted the DGP of Maharashtra to take action against Faisal Siddiqui and TikTok to block the person from the platform.

Subsequently, TikTok India banned Faisal Siddiqui's account due to multiple community guideline violations.

What's happening to TikTok India? The anatomy of a giant controversy
What's happening to TikTok India? The anatomy of a giant controversy

Netizens across India rallied for its ban and resorted to bringing down its rating from Google's Play Store. Two weeks ago, it was 4.6, today (May 20, 2020), the rating has dropped to 1.3.

In another tweet, Bagga brought to the NCW chief's attention a disturbing TikTok video. In it, two young boys and a girl reenact the aftermath of a rape. (The video in the tweet is disturbing to watch).

Sharma responded to the tweet saying she will write to the government of India to get the app banned. We wait to see the response from the Government of India.