On June 29, 2020, The Government Of India decided to impose a ban on 59 Chinese apps including TikTok. Why did they take such a harsh step and was it necessary? What effects will this have on content creators and brands? I will try to cover everything regarding this topic, also the reason why is the TikTok app banned in India, and some best free alternatives to TikTok at the end.
Why Was The Ban Imposed?
Earlier this month, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers in Ladakh. After this incident, tensions rose all around India and youths began protesting to boycott Chinese products. The protests were partially online but many of them brought this to the streets too. This could have triggered the ban on 59 Chinese apps in India including TikTok.
But the official statement from the Indian Government doesn’t say so. The official statement states that these apps are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state, and public order.
The Ministry of Information Technology had received many complaints regarding these apps stealing and transmitting users; data to servers outside of India. So, it is fair to say that TikTok and all these other apps don’t localize the Indian data. Instead, the sensitive and private data of the users are stored in China’s servers. And it is shared with the Communist Party of China without hesitation if asked for.
How Will India Implement The Ban?
The Indian government had requested Google and Apple to remove these apps from the Play Store and Apple Store. Now anyone from India won’t be able to download these apps any longer.
Anyone who already has these apps installed on their phone will see “network error” or any other error message if it’s offline. TikTok shows error messages such as “Network error” and “No internet connection” on all cellular and broadband networks.
After trying to refresh for some time Indians also saw messages like “Dear users, we are in the process of complying with the Government of India’s directive to block 59 apps. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users in India remains our utmost priority”.
So it is fair to say that the Indian government is not taking the ban lightly and all ISPs and network providers are preventing the use of these apps.
Why Was This The Right Thing To Do?
In my opinion, boycotting any country’s products is always a better way to respond rather than starting a war. What India did was right in so many ways and it will surely help in securing the data of millions of TikTok and other app users.
It might sound a little biased but in my opinion, every democratic country in the world must boycott Chinese products and such apps which pose threats to national security. The Communist Party of China doesn’t allow major tech companies and platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc in their country. Instead, they develop similar clone products and encourage people in their country to use them. Sometimes China also launches these clone products internationally. Due to such clone companies and products, Facebook, Amazon, and Google have to bear billion dollars worth of loss every year.
So by boycotting Chinese products and online platforms, we can give a bitter reply to China. This way we can force China to accept global products and not just export but also import technologies.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that this decision can encourage Indian Startups. Indian Tech startups will be encouraged to release better versions so that their apps will outshine TikTok. Roposo, Mitron, and Chingari are similar Indian-made platforms and can be great alternatives for TikTok.
How Will This Affect TikTok?
TikTok considers India as its biggest market over the USA and China. With over 120 million monthly users, India contributes one-third of total TikTok users.
When TikTok was temporarily banned in India back in 2018, ByteDance had to bear a loss of $500,000 every day. Also, the ban of TikTok in India will encourage other countries to rethink and maybe impose a similar step.
If Indian startups gain popularity, then TikTok might be forgotten real soon even if the ban gets uplifted.
Even YouTube is soon launching a short-video feature similar to that of TikTok. Although this feature is not going public any time soon and is still on the testing phase, it might be a huge blow on TikTok. With better monetizing features and popularity, most people will definitely choose Youtube’s short video feature over TikTok.
Impact On TikTok Content Creators And Brands
Unarguably India has the highest amount of popular creators in TikTok. Some use TikTok just for fun while some are making a living through it. So, the ban is surely going to have a huge impact on these creators.
Although there are other platforms that can be used for marketing and creating videos, it wouldn’t be the same as TikTok. Experts say that shifting to Instagram would reduce engagement by almost 90%. The app also had a higher engagement rate and the average spent time as compared to Instagram.
So, if a creator was earning $5000 from a sponsored video on TikTok, the rate would reduce to $1000 on Instagram. Other platforms would provide even less.
TikTok also gave voice to thousands of creators and those who had not diversified to other platforms stand to lose more. New content creators who were growing on TikTok will face big losses because of the need to change the platform.
Recently brands like Dettol and Nivea had hopped on to TikTok to promote handwash challenges and hashtags. These campaigns had more than 9 billion views.
TikTok India’s Response To This Situation
TikTok’s India Head, Nikhil Gandhi was quick to respond to this situation. He said that they respect the decision of the government and are on the process of abiding by it. “TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information on our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government”, said Gandhi.
Gandhi said that TikTok has democratized the Internet and contributes to the livelihood of millions. He said that many of these are first-time internet users. Gandhi clarified that TikTok places the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.
Countering the National Intelligence Law he said that TikTok wouldn’t share such sensitive user information even if asked for.
China’s Response To TikTok Ban
Zhao Lizian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry was the first one to respond from China. He said “China is strongly concerned about the relevant notice issued by the Indian side. We are checking and verifying the situation.”
He emphasized that the Chinese government always requests and orders such Chinese businesses to abide by all international laws. He also said that India should uphold the legal rights of Chinese investors.
“The practical cooperation between India and China is a mutual benefit and win-win,” he said.
Youtube Vs TikTok Controversy In India
The Youtube vs TikTok clash ignited in India and became a major Internet issue all over south Asia. It started when a TikTok creator Amir Siddiqui spoke about the roast videos by Indian Youtubers on some of TikTok’s illogical contents and challenges. In his video, he might have stated ill about Youtube’s content and creator-fan engagement.
Soon, the majority of Indian audiences supported the Youtube community and TikTok received millions of 1-star reviews within days. Hashtags like #bantiktokinindia were also trending in twitter and other platforms.
Although this internet debate had nothing to do with the ban of TikTok in India, lots of Youtubers and fans will get relief after this. Especially Carry Minati whose roast video on Amir Siddiqui’s statement broke several records.
Is TikTok A Safe Platform?
Let’s go back to 2017 when the Chinese Government imposed the National Intelligence Law. China’s National Intelligence Law from 2017 requires organizations san citizens to “support, assist, and cooperate with the state intelligence law”. It means that if the Chinese government needs some private data of users for “security reasons” then the company has no legal way fo refusing the government.
This is not just the case in India. The Dutch Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Authority has also been raising serious concerns over TikTok’s safety. In fact, the Australian and US military have completely banned TikTok.
Most recently, IOS14 users have noticed that TikTok can read the data that you have copied in your clipboard too. Think of all the important data like OTP, MPINS, Passwords, and your forwards that you copy on your clipboard.
TikTok Alternatives For Creators.
India is a great achiever in technology and there are several alternatives for TikTok. Although these apps are not as good as TikTok but are definitely worth trying.
This is an Indian video-sharing app compatible with both Android and IOS devices. With over 50 million downloads, this app has already gained some popularity among users. Roposo is available in 10 different languages including English. It allows you to make short videos or edit pictures using video filters, GIF stickers, effects, and filters.
Mitron is a free short video and social platform based out of Bengaluru, India. The interface is similar to TikTok and users can use this for showcasing their talents and innovation. You can also browse through a library of top videos from around the globe.
Chingari is another exciting platform for creating and sharing short videos. It also allows you to play games and earn coins and prizes. The app also provides a new section to let you know about what’s happening all around the world. It is the most versatile app on this list. With over 8 million users worldwide, this is also a growing platform and can be a great alternative for TikTok.
How Can Indians Use TikTok After The Ban?
The ban is a serious issue and I suggest everyone abide by it. But if you want to use TikTok anyhow then there are several ways. Back when the government banned various adult sites, people still found ways to access them. The most common and easiest method is using a VPN.
The government of India has made the ban quite strict and you won’t be able to use TikTok’s mobile app. This VPN technique only works for the web version in desktop and phone.
- Open the play store or App store and install any good VPN with good ratings. I personally recommend Nord VPN.
- Connect to any other country like the USA where TikTok is fully functional and accessible.
- Open your browser and go to TikTok’s official website.
- Now you can watch any TikTok videos without any hesitation.
The web version doesn’t allow you to create videos and upload them. It is just good for a scroll in the “For You” page.
I think this is a temporary ban and after solving some issues, TikTok will be back on track. If data privacy is the only reason behind this ban then data localization can be implemented within a few weeks. But if somehow this ban gets serious and becomes a permanent thing then content creators must shift to other platforms.
I think I have covered all the important things related to why is the TikTok app banned in India and other Chinese Apps in India.
Any feedback or recommendations will be heartily welcomed in the comment section below. Also, don’t hesitate to mention the points that I may have missed out on. You can also visit our official website Online Help Guide for more TikTok Updates and News.