India queries TikTok App after call for ban by Hindu group

Vastavam web: India’s IT ministry has asked Chinese video app TikTok, one of the world’s most popular, to explain how it collects user data and creates awareness for safe use of its platform, according to government officials and a document. TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The queries from India’s IT ministry come after a Hindu nationalist group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a ban on TikTok, alleging that its developer, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, had a poor track record on privacy protection. On Sunday the RSS affiliate wrote to Modi to reiterate its call for a ban on both TikTok and another Bytedance app called Helo.

The RSS was the key founder of the BJP and has people it nurtured in top positions in the government, including Modi himself. Several Indian lawmakers, too, have raised concerns about TikTok in recent weeks. The app was briefly banned in India last April after a court directive said the app encouraged pornography and could expose children to sexual predators. The ban was revoked after an appeal by TikTok.