Government issues notices to TikTok, Helo over anti-national allegations, warns of banning over no response

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Government of India has sent notices to TikTok and Helo, both social media platforms, and  warned them of banning from the country if it does not get proper response. The government has also issued a set of 21 questions to both the entertainment platforms.

The stiff decision comes from the Ministry of Electronics and IT after RSS (Rashtriya Swatamsevak Sangh) linked Jagran Manch wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the foreign platforms are becoming the major source for anti-national activities.

Whereas, Tiktok and Helo in a joint statement said they have plans to invest $1 billion over the period of next three years to develop technology infrastructure and owns responsibility of local community.

According to the sources, the ministry has sought reply from TikTok and Helo on allegation that these platforms have become a hub of anti-national activities, and has sought assurance that the data of Indian users are not being transferred at present and will not be transferred in future also to any other foreign government or any third party or private entity.

TikTok and Helo in the joint statement said that they are grateful for the immense support given by India’s growing digital community.

“Our continued success in India will not be possible without the support of our local community. We take our responsibilities to this community seriously and welcome this opportunity to fully collaborate with the Government to meet and exceed our obligations,” the statement said.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance was released in 2017 for markets outside of China. It is an iOS and Android media app for creating and sharing short videos.

On the other hand, Helo, a social media platform, available in 14 Indian languages, was launched in 2018. It claims to have more than 50 million monthly active users.

The IT ministry has also sought response on the initiative being taken to check fake news and steps being taken to be compliant under Indian laws. It has also asked explanation from Helo on allegation that it has paid a huge sum to other media platforms for putting 11,000 morphed political ads on social media sites.

Furthermore, the ministry has also raised concern around the violation of child privacy and entry age of 13 years being set by these platforms to enrol users while person below age of 18 years is considered child in India.

“In line with our commitment to India, we are investing $1 billion dollars in India over the next three years, with a strategic focus on developing technology infrastructure, establishing local partnerships and supporting initiatives such as the Skill India Program which we are proud to be assisting with already,” the statement said.

Some of the other social media platform includes Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Squad, YourQuote and LiveJournal, among others.

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