TikTok ban likely to shadow FDI plans of tech firms, says IAMAI

Reacting sharply to the nationwide ban on short video messaging app TikTok, industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said that the ban might affect future plans of companies to invest in India. 

In a statement it said the move would impede FDI in digital if intermediaries were to be banned quite arbitrarily by the courts in the country. While not naming TikTok, the association said that it was responding to the recent ban by the MeiTY on the order of a High Court.

The association was of the view that such bans dilutes the safe harbour provisions currently contained in the IT Act and its Rules and make it impossible for them to operate in the country. 

“Especially affected would be the so called social media platforms which allow citizens to express themselves. Content moderation on user generated content platforms has been a problem about which the platforms themselves are keenly aware and have taken effective measures in recent months to curb the excesses. The Code of Ethics adopted by all social media platforms with the Election Commission is a case in the point,” IAMAI said.

It further said that in this particular instance, the complainant should have approached the government for redressal first before approaching the courts and the court should have ideally asked the platform to remove the “offending content” than ban the entire app. 

According to IAMAI, dilution of the Safe Harbour protection available to intermediaries/social media platforms undermines the steady growth of India’s digital economy. This especially impacts the thriving startup ecosystem in the country.

"Content moderation on user-generated platforms is an industry-wide challenge that our members take very seriously, and are constantly addressing with ever-improving mechanisms along with enhanced safety features such as increased privacy settings, in-app reporting, comments filter, content filter for younger users, in-app access to Community Guidelines, online safety resources and more," IAMAI said.

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