Chinese corporations corresponding 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 reply to 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 lifeless. India has stated the apps pose a risk to its “sovereignty and integrity”. China has criticised the ban.
The 59 banned apps, which embody TikTok and Alibaba’s UC Browser, have 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 content material was censored after an assault final 12 months carried out by a Pakistan-based terrorist group in Pulwama district in Kashmir. The assault killed a minimum of 40 Indian cops and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.
“In the aftermath of the Pulwama Attack of 2019, did the company/app censor content relating to the attack or its perpetrators?” the query reads.
TikTok stated it was working to reply to the ministry’s queries and that it complied with all Indian legal guidelines, including that customers’ information safety and privateness have 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 conversant in the federal government’s pondering stated the queries have been in step with federal procedures and the identical questions have been despatched to all affected corporations.
One query seeks to research 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.
Other queries have been round advertisers, enterprise constructions, taxation practices and privateness insurance policies, the doc confirmed.
The authorities additionally requested the app corporations whether or not they had confronted any investigation within the United States, European Union or elsewhere for surreptitiously harvesting consumer information.
© Thomson Reuters 2020