Google, Apple block new downloads of TikTok in India

By BLOOMBERG

SAN FRANCISCO • Google LLC and Apple Inc complied with an Indian court order to block downloads of the popular app TikTok over government concerns with illicit content, according to people familiar with the decision.

The move could handicap the app’s owner, China’s Bytedance Ltd — the world’s most highly valued start-up — in one of its most promising markets.

An Indian state court had earlier asked the federal government to ban TikTok, citing concerns the video-sharing mobile app exposed children to troubling content, including pornography.

Bytedance fought the proposal, but was overruled by India’s Supreme Court.

Regulators then asked Alphabet Inc’s Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores. Representatives for Google and Apple declined to comment.

The court ruling restricts future downloads of the app in India, not existing users, said one of the people familiar with the decision, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

A Bytedance spokeswoman declined to comment on the app store decisions, but provided a statement on the India situation.

“The case is still ongoing to date,” the company said. “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.”

Investors have valued the closely held firm at US$75 billion (RM310.5 billion). — Bloomberg