TikTok has not shared information on Indian users with China or other foreign governments, it said on Tuesday after New Delhi last evening banned it along with 58 other apps with Chinese links.
“We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” said Tik Tok India head Nikhil Gandhi in a statement.
TikTok “continued to comply with data privacy and security requirements under Indian law” and had not shared any information of users in India with “any foreign government, including the Chinese government”. The viral app added: “if we are requested to in the future we would not do so.”
“TikTok has democratized the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, story tellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first time internet users,” said the statement.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) invoked its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act ban the apps and termed their usage “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
TikTok was taken down from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store on Tuesday morning. The app is not available for downloads on any official app distribution platform. However, it continues to work for people who have already downloaded and installed it on their smartphones.
India is the biggest driver of TikTok app installations, accounting for 611 million lifetime downloads, or 30.3% of the total, app analytics firm Sensor Tower said in April, according to a Reuters report.
Among other apps that have been banned are Tencent’s WeChat, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times on Google’s Android, Alibaba’s UC Browser and two of Xiaomi’s apps.