Govt Asks Banned Chinese App Owners to Answer 77 Questions on Content, Practices

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has reportedly given the businesses three weeks to answer the questionnaire.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 15, 2020, 12:04 PM IST

Chinese firms equivalent to TikTok-owner ByteDance have been requested by India to reply 77 questions on their apps which have been banned by New Delhi, together with whether or not they censored content material, labored on behalf of international governments or lobbied influencers. India’s Information Technology Ministry has given the businesses three weeks to answer the questionnaire, which has been seen by Reuters, and stated unspecified follow-up motion can be taken, two sources stated.

India final month banned the apps following a border conflict between troopers from the 2 nations, which left 20 Indian troopers useless. India has stated the apps pose a risk 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 international authorities to edit, promote, or demote any content material.

One theme of the questionnaire is whether or not the content material was censored after an assault final yr carried out by a Pakistan-based terrorist group in Pulwama district in Kashmir. The assault killed at the very least 40 Indian law enforcement officials and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. “In the aftermath of the Pulwama Attack of 2019, did the corporate/app censor content material regarding 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 high priorities. The app ban has jolted the ambitions of ByteDance in India, the place its TikTok video app was vastly well-liked.

A supply aware of the federal government’s pondering stated the queries had been in step with federal procedures and the identical questions had been despatched to all affected firms. 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 business functions. Other queries had been round advertisers, enterprise constructions, taxation practices and privateness insurance policies, the doc confirmed. The authorities additionally requested the app firms whether or not they had confronted any investigation within the United States, European Union or elsewhere for surreptitiously harvesting person knowledge.

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