HC lifts ban on TikTok, but with a caveat

  1. The interim ban on Chinese-owned TikTok video app has been lifted by the Madras High Court, subject to certain conditions. The ban was removed after the company assured that it had put moderating mechanisms in place to regulate obscene content.
  2. The Madras High Court has warned the company that it would be charged with contempt of court if the regulatory mechanisms were not found in place.
  3. Earlier in April, The Madras High Court directed the state authorities to prohibit downloading of TikTok app. It had also prohibited media from telecasting the videos made using the app.
  4. The court’s decision was based on the grounds that that the app was inappropriate for children and exposed them to several dangers such as pornographic and inappropriate content.
  5. The company had then approached the Supreme Court against high court’s order. It had contended that the app is an intermediary as per Section 2(w) of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Thus, it cannot be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform as stated under section 79 of the IT Act.
  6. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 provides a diligence framework to be followed by intermediaries in order to avail of the exemption under Section 79. Under the Rules, intermediaries are required to prohibit users from hosting certain content on its platform e.g. obscene content, content that provoke terrorism, extremism, violence and crime.