After running into a tiff with the Indian government on a second occasion within a short span of time, ByteDance, one of the largest social media companies of China and the owner of hugely popular video sharing app TikTok, is trying to scramble out a solution to protect its business in its largest market – India.
The company has announced the setting up of a data center in India as well as other possible measures to ensure safety of about 200 million of its TikTok users in the country.
“Since the launch of our platforms in India, we have stored the data of our Indian users at industry-leading third-party data centers in the US and Singapore,” ByteDance said in a statement on Sunday. “We now believe that the time has come to take the next big leap.”
There has been a push by the Indian government to urge global tech companies to store data of Indian consumers in servers in India so that personal data of Indians are better protected and allowing greater access to such data by the Indian law enforcement authorities.
The proposed regulations have been criticized by larger United States based companies including Google and Facebook, as well as the US government, who have argued that the proposed changes would create issues for foreign companies to do business in India and impact the digital economy of the country and innovation.
The owner of TikTok, ByteDance, currently has more than a billion users with a large section of them outside of China. The company has plans to invest about $1 billion in India and is ready to agree to the rules and regulations of the Indian government. “We are now in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within India’s borders,” it said.
There have been criticisms in India in recent times of TikTok and Helo, another app of the company, and critics have alleged that the apps potentially expose children to pornography and other inappropriate content.
Those concerns were cited by a lower court in India to ban TikTok in April this year before restraining the order following the company being successful in appealing against the decision. There are currently 50 million monthly active users in India for Helo, which is a social network for posting photos, videos and messages. The app is available in 14 Indian regional languages.
Threats of another ban against TikTok and Helo was issues last week by India’s technology ministry and the company was given till Monday to reply to 24 questions by the ministry related to “anti-national” and “anti-social” content. According to reports, the company has also been asked questions about data privacy and the protection of children. That news was later confirmed by TikTok and Helo and said that thet company would respond to the questions by Monday.
“Our continued success in India will not be possible without the support of our local community,” they said in a statement to CNN Business last week. “We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the government to meet and exceed our obligations.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)