India tops user information requests on TikTok

CHENNAI: India sent the largest number of requests for user information and content removal to the popular short video application Tik Tok . This was revealed by the owner of the application, the Chinese social media company ByteDance, in its first transparency report for the first six months of 2019.

India made a total of 107 requests to the Chinese social media company, of which 99 were legal requests and eight were emergency requests. The Center also made an additional 11requests for content removal across nine specified accounts. Tik Tok said it removed or restricted eight accounts and four pieces of content after the Indian government’s request. A total of 143 Indian accounts were mentioned in these requests.

Tik Tok complied with about 47% of requests made by India for user information. After India, the US made the highest number of such requests (85) to Tik Tok, according to the report. Japan, Norway and the UK were some of the other countries mentioned in this transparency report, released on December 30.

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Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook also publish similar reports semiannually. For Tik-Tok, India is a critical market with more than 120 million monthly active users.

Any information request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency to determine whether, for example, the requesting entity is authorized to gather evidence in connection with a law enforcement investigation or to investigate an emergency involving imminent harm, Tik Tok said. It declined to respond to TOI’s queries on how the app evaluates state requests.

Due to its Chinese roots, the company has been under scrutiny on the storage and processing of user data, including from the government and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), affiliated with RSS.