The calls for banning TikTok around the country have been steadily gaining momentum. Giving a telling blow to TikTok’s fortunes was its plummeting ratings in the Google Play Store–from 4.5 stars rating until May 16th, the rating of the app had consistently fallen to 1.3 stars till a couple of days back. However, something astonishing happened overnight that TikTok’s rating again started showing an upward curve.
Turns out it was none other than the search-giant Google which itself jumped in the fray to salvage the falling ratings of TikTok.
Google which owns the play store went on a damage control mode for the Chinese app as TikTok’s Google Play rating for android improved to 1.6 after nearly 5 million (50 Lakh) reviews disappeared from the app store overnight. TikTok’s user reviews had suddenly nose-dived on Play Store from 27 million users to 22 million users from last week, raising suspicions over Google’s allegiances.
The big question that arises from the whole episode is—why is Google showing such profound readiness to save the ByteDance owned app ratings?
It all started with the feud between YouTube roaster CarryMinati and TikTok influencer Amir Siddiqui. CarryMinati had decimated Siddiqui and TikTok in the video which had brought a great deal of negative spotlight on TikTok. However things were all fun and games until this point–things went south when YouTube removed CarryMinati’s video from its platform and as a result people mobilized against TikTok and started reporting the app whilst simultaneously giving it low ratings.
CarryMinati’s video might have been the departure point that exposed TikTok’s crass content world but over the next few days disturbing videos continued to come out of TikTok which enraged the netizens to report the app for promoting acid attacks, rape, animal abuse, jihad, and a deranged anti-Hindu mentality.
Faizal Siddiqui, brother of Amir Siddiqui was caught trying to promote acid-attacks on women by jilted lovers. In the contentious TikTok video, he can be heard saying, “Usna tumhe chor diya jiska liya tumna Mujhe chora tha” and then proceeds to throw acid on the girl. (“Did the man, for whom you abandoned me, leave you?)
He is Faizal Siddiqui, memeber of team nawab and brother of Amir Siddiqui
Is he promoting Acid attack on girls??
FYI he has 13.4M followers on Tiktok
What kind of Social media influencing is this? pic.twitter.com/h83VQbSvv5
— Intrepid Saffron (@IntrepidSaffron) May 17, 2020
One TikTok user Mujibur Rehman was seen promoting rape in a video that seems like has come straight from the dark web, albeit it is from the TikTok world only. The boy, along with his friends, attempts to button up his shirt and zip his pants to suggest that they have raped the girl in the contentious video.
Promoting RAPE Now? #TikTok you think you will keep on promoting video’s which will spoil our country’s youth and we will accept it? RT if you support #BanTikTokInIndia #tiktokexposed #tiktokrating #tiktokapp pic.twitter.com/x9nflhPGIl
— CORONA WARRIOR MAYANK CHAUDHARY 🇮🇳 (@IamMayank_) May 19, 2020
While all these videos prove a point that TikTok has no place in a civilized society. Netizens calling a total ban on TikTok more often than not forget that the app, owned by the Chinese startup ByteDance is a big propaganda locomotive tool of CCP and China’s nefarious expansionist policies.
After all these videos showed up, people already enraged by the CarryMinati episode were further dismayed and started showing their displeasure by rating Tiktok low. However, Google did not like it, and now it is wiping out the reviews of people to give a new lease of life to TikTok.
Google is an American company, which prides itself on giving freedom of expression to its users and workers. But the way Google, of late, has been trying to suppress the freedom of expression of Indian users, it seems that the search giant has started following the footsteps of China and its Communist Party and is emulating its censoring policies.
Facebook and Twitter are already accused of praising the Communist Party and giving leeway to such orthodox sentiments. Recently, Twitter had also placed a Chinese citizen on its executive board, who is believed to have very close relations with the Communist Party.
It baffles anyone and therefore it is difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact that why will Google help a Chinese app that is corrupting the minds of the youth with such insensitive videos.
TikTok has been a highly disputed video platform where jihad, terrorism, anti-Hinduism, rape culture, anti-women crimes, and anti-nationalism have been routinely promoted.
Google should respect the sentiments of the people, keeping aside its economic benefits from TikTok. If Google considers freedom of expression and moral values on its platform important, then it should immediately remove Tiktok from the Google Play Store.
Last year, the Madras High Court had asked the center to ban TikTok due to the dissemination of pornographic content on it. The court had shown concern about the app as it instigated suicidal instincts. The court also noticed that TikTok leads to child abuse by the sexual predators and pedophiles roaming scot-free on the Chinese platform.
TikTok had later assured the Madras High Court that it would never promote such objectionable content in the future. But it looks like TikTok had lied through its teeth as objectionable content is not only present on the app but it is flourishing and thriving at the same time. TikTok’s moderation guidelines are a sham and it does absolutely nothing to cull such disturbing behavior on the platform.
Monitoring such a large amount of vulgar content streaming on the platform is a Sisyphean task and consequently the app should have been outright deleted. Google will lose its credibility if it keeps up like this. Instead of mollycoddling TikTok whilst keeping its China love at bay, the search-giant should take some stringent action against the app at the earliest.