In a letter to employees, TikTok India Head Nikhil Gandhi said the company has taken steps to comply with data privacy and security requirements and is optimistic about a positive outcome. PUBG Mobile’s announcement on Thursday where it talked about new security arrangements and customisation for India could point to a path back to the country for the Chinese video sharing platform as well, although in the case of PUBG it is owned by a Korean company, Krafton, and it stressed that point very clear in its announcement. In the letter, Gandhi said that the ByteDance-owned app is committed to complying with local laws, including requirements for data privacy and security. Gandhi also sees an “immense growth opportunity for TikTok in India.”
“Our clarifications have been submitted to the Government and we will continue to allay any further concerns they may have. Together with our employees, we remain dedicated to our users and creators who have found not only recognition but also new avenues of livelihood through our platform,” Gandhi wrote in the letter, according to a report by Hindustan Times.
TikTok was banned by the Government in June, along with 58 more apps including WeChat, UC Browser, and others. In its notice, the Government stated that these apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state, and public order.
The social media platform partnered with top agencies to help gain insight from security researchers, academic scholars, and independent experts to uncover potential threats and strengthen its security defences. TikTok also partnered with third-party experts and regulators to validate its progress.
In India, ByteDance has over 2,000 employees, who have been assured that best efforts are being made to resolve the situation in the country. Employees were also awarded a salary bonus to cope with the ban announcement and the unprecedented economic and social upheaval owing to the ongoing pandemic. To keep in line with the global norms, TikTok also conducted an annual performance review cycle and focused on multiple learning and development opportunities to help employees upskill themselves. “Our employees have been at the heart of our business and we place utmost importance on our employees’ personal and professional well-being,” Gupta added in his letter.
In September, the Government yet another round of bans on apps and games that blocked downloads of the popular battle royale, PUBG Mobile. Nearly a month later, PUBG Corporation and parent company Krafton announced that a new game titled PUBG Mobile India will be launched soon, specifically to cater to gamers in the country. The in-game content is claimed by the developers to be improved and customised to “reflect local needs.” These include fully clothed new characters, a virtual simulation training ground setting, and green hit effects instead of red. It remains to be seen if TikTok adopts a similar India-friendly approach to relaunch its services in the country.
Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.