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TikTok had just started seeing its golden days in India in terms of monetisation where brands came flooding to use the platform to reach out to the youth through hashtags and user-generated content. The world’s fastest growing 15-second video making app boasts of about 0.5 billion users around the world, of which over 119 million are in India.

It was only until last week when a hitch occurred in their India journey: the supreme court refused to stay the Madras high court’s ban on TikTok on the grounds that it is temporary and the matter is still being heard at the high court. Due to which, Google Play and Apple Store removed TikTok from the app store for people to download. The Indian judiciary has to intercept on the back of explicit content floating on the platform like pornography, cyber-bullying, violence and other issues.

As per the proceedings in the Supreme Court, the Madras High Court will hear the matter on ex parte ad interim order. The Supreme Court has listed the matter again for today, April 22, 2019, to be apprised of the outcome of the hearing on the April 16, 2019 before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.

A TikTok spokesperson commenting on Supreme Court directive on TikTok, said, “At TikTok, we have faith in the Indian Judicial system and the stipulations afforded to social media platforms by the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India. In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down objectionable content. To date, we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, following an exhaustive review of the content generated by our users in India."

Commenting on the Madras High Court directive on TikTok, the spokesperson added, “We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curae (independent counsel) to the court. We have faith in the Indian judicial system, and we are optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by over 120 million monthly active users in India, who continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives.”

Until last week, TikTok as a platform was a huge opportunity for brands to reach out to the youth. But after the ban, a lot of brands, digital agencies, content creators and mediators have started doubting their decision to associate with the platform.

The app has only been removed by Google and Apple but it is still available for download through third-party platforms, which are already seeing a surge in the download numbers.

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO  and Co-Founder, Gozoop, said, “I see the ban impacting brand campaigns on TikTok in the short-term. We were also planning TikTok campaigns for our clients at Gozoop, but right now we will be re-evaluating them. TikTok is a fantastic platform for engagement with a highly engaged audience. We are expecting campaigns to restart, as soon as the platform abides by the law.”

Sowmya Iyer, Founder and CEO of DViO Digital, shows concerns with the issue that there are no restraints being followed when it comes to the consumption and usage of apps, and especially that of TikTok. She said, “Instead of banning it altogether, the real issues at hand need to be identified and corrective measures implemented. For example, with the use of artificial intelligence, we can detect content that is inappropriate or offensive and automatically takes it off the platforms.”

Iyer also said that the government needs to have stringent measures and make sure that TikTok complies with certain policies. “Today if this app is banned, there will be 50 other apps within the week to take its place. And more and more people will become slaves to its consumption," she added.

TikTok had become the new love for the digital influencers to post their content on. Not just existing influencers were fetching more eyeballs on the platform, but it also gave birth to a new league of TikTok specific influencers. A lot of people became influencers and attracted brands to associate with them. With this ban in place, these influencers are in trouble. In the future, they too will discretely give it a thought to further continue any association with a platform that doesn’t monitor or filter content, until some corrective measures are taken.

Sumedh Chapekar, Co-Founder, Nofilter.Group, a company that primarily focuses on mentoring and guiding creators on their journey and helps them monetise their platforms, said, “TikTok is a tremendously powerful platform. A new generation of talent were the leaders of the platform. These leaders/influencers worked extremely hard and took advantage of the platform to create new and innovative pieces of content every day. They further influenced the next generation that looked up to them.”

One of India’s major digital influencers, who did not want to be quoted, told BuzzInContent, “I love TikTok. Until and unless the platform doesn’t take corrective measures to monitor and filter content for the user consumption, I will be wary of continuing to post brand-related post on it. I don’t want the brand that I am associated with to be harmed in any manner. I wish good luck to the platform to make a come back.”