Google and Apple have blocked downloads of the app on stores to abide by the order. The app has more than 120 million users in India but has come under fire for hosting inappropriate content, the BBC reported. TikTok, which was made by a Chinese company, is hugely popular with teenagers who use it to capture short videos.
A high court asked the federal government on April 3 to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and warning that sexual predators could target child users.
The federal government sent a letter requesting Apple and Google to abide by the state court’s order, according to an IT ministry official.
The app, made by Bytedance, has now been removed from Apple’s app store or Google’s Play store.
However, users of the app were reportedly still able to use the app on Wednesday.
And the move has been branded as “pointless” by Indian commentator Sneha Saha who said: “Removing an app from the Play store is easy but that is also pointless because apps can be downloaded from other websites, and if not that then you must understand that porn can be accessed through the wider and bigger World Wide Web using a myriad of ways.”
The state court’s ban has been challenged by Bytedance who say it went against freedom of speech rights in India.
The top court had referred the case back to the state court, where a judge on Tuesday rejected Bytedance’s request to put the ban order on hold
A spokesman for TikTok in India declined to comment on the app’s removal, saying the matter was still in the courts.
He said The company had faith in the judicial system and was “optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by” its millions of users in India, he added.
Salman Waris, a technology lawyer at TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors, said the legal action against Bytedance could set a precedent of Indian courts intervening to regulate content on social media and other digital platforms.
In its Supreme Court filing, Bytedance argued that a “very minuscule” proportion of TikTok content was considered inappropriate or obscene.
The company employs more than 250 people in India and had plans for more investment as it expands the business, it said.
The state court has requested written submissions from Bytedance in the case and has scheduled its next hearing for April 24.