October 25, 2020

After ban, India asks Chinese language app makers to reply 77 questions on safety, content material

NEW DELHI: Chinese language corporations corresponding to TikTok-owner ByteDance have been requested by India to reply 77 questions on their apps which were banned by New Delhi, together with whether or not they censored content material, labored on behalf of overseas governments or lobbied influencers.

India’s Info Know-how Ministry has given the businesses three weeks to answer the questionnaire, which has been seen by Reuters, and stated unspecified follow-up motion could be taken, two sources stated.

India final month banned the apps following a border conflict between troopers from the 2 international locations, which left 20 Indian troopers useless. India has stated the apps pose a menace to its “sovereignty and integrity”. China has criticised the ban.

The 59 banned apps, which embrace TikTok and Alibaba’s UC Browser, had been requested whether or not they acted on the behest of any overseas authorities to edit, promote or demote any content material.

One theme of the questionnaire is whether or not content material was censored after an assault final 12 months carried out by a Pakistan-based militant group in Pulwama district in Kashmir. The assault killed a minimum of 40 Indian law enforcement officials and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.

“Within the aftermath of the Pulwama Assault of 2019, did the corporate/app censor content material referring to the assault or its perpetrators?” the query reads.

TikTok stated it was working to answer the ministry’s queries and that it complied with all Indian legal guidelines, including that customers’ knowledge safety and privateness had been its prime priorities.

The app ban has jolted the ambitions of ByteDance in India, the place its TikTok video app was vastly in style.

Neither Alibaba nor the Indian ministry responded to requests for remark.

A supply acquainted with the federal government’s considering stated the queries had been consistent with federal procedures and the identical questions had been despatched to all affected corporations.

One query seeks to analyze if firm executives in India communicated with movie stars, social media influencers or journalists to advertise any content material, even when the communication was not for industrial functions.

Different queries had been round advertisers, enterprise constructions, taxation practices and privateness insurance policies, the doc confirmed.

The federal government additionally requested the app corporations whether or not they had confronted any investigation in america, European Union or elsewhere for surreptitiously harvesting person knowledge.