Not just TikTok, Twitter and Zoom are also in the dock in India

TikTok, Twitter and Zoom logos.TikTok, Twitter and Zoom
  • The coronavirus lockdown has attracted sharper scrutiny on social media apps from Indian authorities.
  • TikTok has been in the news recently, after millions of Indians called for a ban on the app after videos promoting violence against women went viral.
  • The National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma has said she will write to the Indian government seeking a ‘total ban’ on the app.
  • On the other hand, a new petition has been filed against Twitter by a BJP leader, seeking a mechanism to check the spread of fake news on the platform.
  • Zoom, too, has been called out for its security issues, and a new petition in the Supreme Court seeks to ban it in India.
Social media apps TikTok and Twitter, and video calling app Zoom have attracted the scrutiny of Indian authorities after instances of promotion of anti-women violence, fake news and security issues surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating the existing troubles in the country.

To be clear, TikTok and Twitter are not new to scrutiny from the Indian authorities. Earlier in April 2019, TikTok was briefly banned in India by the Madras High Court for hosting ‘pornographic and sleazy’ content.

Twitter, too, has had its share of controversies in India. It has been termed as ‘toxic for women’ by non-governmental organisations like Amnesty International.

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2020 has seen a fresh wave of outbursts against the social media platforms.


India’s National Commission for Women seeks a ban on TikTok

Now, these apps are in the news once again for wrong reasons. In a protest of sorts, millions of Indian users of TikTok have taken to uninstalling the app and rating it 1-star on the Google Play store. This happened after some TikTok users posted videos promoting violence against women and were subsequently roasted by popular YouTubers like CarryMinati.

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The videos promoting violence prompted the National Commission for Women’s chairperson Rekha Sharma to step in. She said she would write to the Indian government seeking to ban the app.


Ruling party leader wants action to be taken against Twitter

Vinit Goenka, a leader from the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, asking for a mechanism to curb fake news and instigative messages on the platform.

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“The logic and algorithms that twitter usage should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti India tweets,” the plea says, alleging that the social media platform has given a very long leash to "anti-nationals", "separatists" and the likes.

“KYC of all social media handles in India must be conducted for making social media safe and accountable and traceable,” the plea further added.

‘Zoom users vulnerable to cyber threats’ says a plea seeking ban on the app

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Zoom has had its share of glaring security issues in the recent past. On several occasions, users have reported ‘Zoombombing’, which is essentially the digital equivalent of gatecrashing a meeting.


“Rather than lending a hand to people in need, Zoom violates the privacy of its millions of users by misusing and exploiting their personal information and falsely, deceptively and misleadingly advertising fictitious security benefits of the program,” said the plea filed in the Supreme Court, according to a PTI report.

“Zoom is reported to have a bug that can be abused intentionally to leak information of users to third parties. The app has falsely claiming calls are end-to-end encrypted when they are not,” the plea further added.
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Zoom has already been banned by ten companies and government organisations around the world.

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