Tamil Nadu MLA calls for ban on TikTok; blames media-sharing app for 'degradation of culture'

Blaming the Chinese media-sharing mobile application TikTok for causing degradation of Tamil Nadu’s culture, Nagapattinam MLA Thamimun Ansari raised a request in the state legislative Assembly to ban the app.

Information Technology Minister M Manikandan responded to Ansari’s plea by saying that the state government will recommend to the central government to ban the app, just like the Blue Whale Challenge and Momo Challenge were barred in August last year.

 Tamil Nadu MLA calls for ban on TikTok; blames media-sharing app for degradation of culture

File image of Thamimun Ansari. Facebook/Thamimun Ansari

As per a report in The Economic Times, Ansari said, “I raised an issue forwarded to me by community welfare workers that the mobile application was acting as a platform for heated debates inimical to law and order and sharing of sexually-explicit material.”

Ansari said that the app creates law and order problems and that he has received widespread appreciation for seeking a ban on TikTok. “Many school and college students are using it. They and their families are getting affected by it, it's ripping them apart,” Ansari told The News Minute.

However, there is no clarity yet on when the matter will be raised with the Centre. TikTok said it was in the process of recruiting a chief nodal officer to coordinate better with the law enforcement authorities, the ET report said.

TikTok lets users post 15-second videos, which can have their choice of lip-syncing and music. According to a New Indian Express report, a counsellor working on the 104 helpline received 36 calls in December 2018 regarding bullying and harassment relating to TikTok videos.

This report also recounted the incident from October 2018 when a 23-year-old Vyasarpadi man jumped in front of a train for allegedly being trolled for dressing up as a woman in one of his TikTok videos.

In another tragic incident reported by Hindustan Times, a youth lost his life while trying to act that he was committing suicide by slitting his throat for a TikTok video.

The report also stated that a flesh trade racket was busted by the Chennai police recently, which morphed pictures of women from TikTok to woo customers.

TikTok videos are also often used to mimic or mock politicians. Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan welcomed Ansari’s suggestion. “These apps are mostly being used to ridicule people like me. The app started for an entertainment purpose has now gone beyond all limits now. I welcome if there is a move to ban it,” she told The Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Congress national spokesperson Khushbu said that regulation and not banning is the solution. “If you ban everything on the basis of whether or not it matches with your values, nothing will be left out… If this app deserves some regulations, we can frame rules and do that instead of banning it,” the Indian Express report quoted her as saying.

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2019 12:18:19 IST