Both Google and Apple have blocked the Chinese video app TikTok in India, by making the app no longer available on their respective app stores for users in the country.
It started when the court in southern Tamil Nadu state asked the federal government on April 3rd to ban TikTok, the app that allows users to create and share short videos with special effects.
The app is hugely popular in India, but some politicians in the country said that its content is inappropriate, saying that the app encouraged pornography and deepfakes, as well as sending a warning that pedophiles could also target child users.
The federal government sent a letter to both Google and Apple, requesting them to follow the state court's order, according to an IT ministry official in India.
As a result, Google blocked access to TikTok on its Play store in India to comply with the court's directive, saying in a statement that it doesn't comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws. Apple followed by making the app also not available on its Apple's app store for users in India.
The ban can impair Bytedance Technology which is TikTok's developer, in its efforts to tap users in India as a key market.
The company had faith in the country's judicial system, ans said that it was "optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by" its millions of users in India.
Bytedance challenged the court's ban order in India's Supreme Court, saying that the ban went against freedom of speech rights in India. In its filing, Bytedance argued that a "very minuscule" proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.
The top court had referred the case back to the state court, where a judge rejected Bytedance's request to put the ban order on hold, said K. Neelamegam, a lawyer arguing against Bytedance in the case.
One week after the Indian government forced it to be taken down, the popular video-sharing app was reinstated.
"We are glad about this decision and we believe it is also greatly welcomed by our thriving community in India, who use TikTok as a platform to showcase their creativity," said TikTok.
TikTok, which is also known as 'Douyin' in China, is an iOS and Android app where users can create and share short videos that are seconds long.
Launched in September 2016, it opposes most social media networks from the West with its simple approach, TikTok quickly gained traction and became the leading short video platform in Asia, United States, and other parts of the world.
As of 2018, the app is available in over 150 markets, and in 75 languages.
Having downloaded by more than 240 million times India, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower in February, TikTok had added more than 30 million users in January 2019. This was 12 times more than what it gained in January 2018.
In June 2018, TikTok reached 500 million monthly active users worldwide, making it the world's most downloaded app on Apple's App Store in the first half of 2018 with an estimated 104 million downloads, surpassing the downloads of PUBG Mobile, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram in the same period.
On February 2019, the app had accumulated a total of more than 1 billion downloads.
However, the app that spawned numerous internet celebrities and propelled songs to fame has its own controversies, which include privacy issues, cyberbullying and addiction concerns.
And also because TikTok allows its users to communicate by video with strangers, the app may expose children to sexual predators.