TikTok faces criticism in India over content moderation

A debate arises over whether the short video site is doing enough to moderate content, with some calling for a ban.

TikTok's ranking on Google Play India has dropped to 1.2 from a previous rating of 4.5 last week, as the company faces criticism from some Indian users, including the chairperson of the National Commission for Women.

The controversy started with a blogger, who has 13.5 million followers, who posted a controversial video making fun of the victims of acid attacks. The video sparked outrage, and soon attracted the attention of politicians and other high-profile figures. Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, criticised the video and said TikTok should be completly banned.

Contacted by Campaign Asia-Pacific, TikTok stated that it does not allow content that risks the safety of others, promotes physical harm or glorifies violence against women. The behaviour in question violates TikTok's guidelines and the platform has taken down the content, has suspended the account, and is working with law enforcement agencies as appropriate, the company said.

The company's actions have done little to quell the controversy yet, with several influencers who have millions of followers debating the issue.

Currently, TikTok claims 200 million users in India, including 120 million monthly active users. According to SenseTower, TikTok has 60 million downloads, the highest number worldwide, in September 2019, and installations in India contributed about 44 per cent.

TikTok emphasised that as a platform for user-generated content, it needs to follow internal procedures to delete content. The blogger who posted the first controversial video already deleted it himself and TikTok has deleted similar circulating content, it said.

A version of this article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.


Click here to subscribe to the FREE Asia PR & comms bulletin to receive dedicated news, features and comment from the region straight to your inbox. Make sure you register for the site to access more than one story per month.

To submit a news, comment, case study or analysis idea for the Asia bulletin, email Surekha.Ragavan@haymarket.asia

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in