The interim ban on Chinese-owned TikTok video
app has been lifted by the Madras High Court, subject to certain conditions.
The ban was removed after the company assured that it had put moderating
mechanisms in place to regulate obscene content.
The Madras High Court has warned the company that
it would be charged with contempt of court if the regulatory mechanisms were
not found in place.
Earlier in April, The Madras High Court directed
the state authorities to prohibit downloading of TikTok app. It had also
prohibited media from telecasting the videos made using the app.
The court’s decision was based on the grounds
that that the app was inappropriate for children and exposed them to several
dangers such as pornographic and inappropriate content.
The company had then approached the Supreme
Court against high court’s order. It had contended that the app is an
intermediary as per Section 2(w) of the Information Technology (IT) Act. Thus,
it cannot be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform as stated
under section 79 of the IT Act.
The Information Technology (Intermediaries
Guidelines) Rules, 2011 provides a diligence framework to be followed by
intermediaries in order to avail of the exemption under Section 79. Under the
Rules, intermediaries are required to prohibit users from hosting certain
content on its platform e.g. obscene content, content that provoke terrorism,
extremism, violence and crime.