Government has issued notices to social media platforms Tiktok and Helo along with a set of 21 questions threatening to ban these apps if it does not receive an appropriate response, official sources said.
The action from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) follows complaint by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) to the Prime Minister, in which it alleged that the platforms are being used for anti-national activities.
When contacted, Tiktok and Helo in a joint statement said they have plans to invest $1 billion over the period of next three years to develop technology infrastructure and owns the responsibility of the local community.
MeitY has sought reply from TikTok and Helo on allegation that these platforms have become “a hub of anti-national activities”, and has sought assurance that the data of Indian users are not being transferred at present and will not be transferred in the future also “to any other foreign government or any third party or private entity”, according to sources.
MeitY has also sought a response on the initiative being taken to check fake news and steps being taken to be compliant under Indian laws.
The IT ministry has asked explanation from Helo on the allegation that it has paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.
The ministry has also raised concern around the violation of child privacy and entry age of 13 years being set by these platforms to enroll users while person below the age of 18 years is considered the child in India.
TikTok and Helo in the joint statement said that they are grateful for the immense support given by Indian’s growing digital community.
“Our continued success in India will not be possible without the support of our local community. We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the Government to meet and exceed our obligations,” the statement said.
India is one of the strongest markets for TikTok and Helo.
“In line with our commitment to India, we are investing $1 billion dollars in India over the next three years, with a strategic focus on developing technology infrastructure, establishing local partnerships and supporting initiatives such as the Skill India Program which we are proud to be assisting with already,” the statement said.