The Indian government has banned 59 apps, many of which are Chinese, including TikTok and WeChat.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that the apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
It continued, “there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy” of Indians and has moved to ban the use of the apps in the country. This is no small feat, and according to The Verge, 30% of TikTok’s 2 billions downloads were in India.
It comes in the wake of rising tensions on the disputed Himalayan border of India and China, with Indian troops accused of provocation.
If upheld the ban could have far-reaching repercussions for TikTok’s growth worldwide. There are existing ongoing concerns for its security, with it this week accused of continuously copying people’s clipboards on their phones – though this is a worryingly common behaviour of other apps also.
WeChat is one of the world’s most popular apps by download, although its core user base is in Asia.
The Indian government did not indicate specific reasoning for the wide-reaching ban that also includes apps such as UC Browser, Baidu map, Clash of Kings, Weibo, and Xiaomi’s Mi Community and Mi Video Call.
The announcement ended, “This move will safeguard the interests of crores [tens of millions] of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”