Tiktok has today denied claims by the Indian government that it has shared individuals’ data with China, as the app went dark for the country’s 200m users.
India yesterday banned Tiktok along with 58 other apps which have parent firms in China, claiming they “pose a threat to the sovereignty and security” of the country.
Nikhil Gandhi, head of Tiktok India, said it had been invited to discussions with government stakeholders to “respond and submit clarifications” on the ban.
“Tiktok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our Indian users with any foreign government, including the Chinese government,” he added.
Internet service providers in India have begun to comply with the ban, blocking the app on their networks. Some also received an error message when trying to open Tiktok, such as in this screenshot provided to City A.M.
The ban is a major setback for Tiktok owner Bytedance’s expansion plans in India, which is its largest overseas market outside of China.
China’s foreign ministry said it was “strongly concerned” about India’s decision, adding that India had a “responsibility to uphold the legitimate legal rights of investors including the Chinese companies”.
The ban followed clashes with Chinese forces on Indian borders.
Other apps also included in India’s ban were Sherait, UC Browser, Clash of Kings, Baidu, Wechat and Xiaomi.
A statement from India’s IT Ministry yesterday said: “[We] have received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
“The compilation of [this] data… is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.”