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TikTok, an application introduced by China for entertainment has created a stir across the globe over security and privacy concerns. It is difficult to understand that an application introduced for youths in accord with sharing videos, creating artistic programs is now at the centre of controversy. TikTok had influenced the Indian social media as a sight of entertainment. The not-so-famous people got a chance to showcase their talent in the form of short videos and lip-syncing. It had a very compulsive algorithm.

After certain years, TikTok application was no longer accessible to the users and it restricted users from income and entertainment. Social media applications using the internet become a weapon to limit the boundary of democratic freedoms. It will validate and encourage the global world to indulge or close down the internet for becoming a political tool. Continuous and repeated indulgence of the internet can lead to organized erosion of freedom of speech and expression. New cyber-sovereignty law is to be passed, making it difficult for foreign countries to operate. The larger companies like Google and Facebook will be affected at large because of the long term fallouts policy that increases the operating costs. 

Most social media platforms are U.S based, but TikTok is owned and operated by a Beijing-based company named ByteDance. TikTok was observed collecting data like location, text messages, and contacts. It is even accused of fingerprint practices and this can gather detailed information about the user. The fingerprint is explained as when the websites try tracking the user by the means of collecting information from your browser including the extensions and plugins, they make a model and screen resolution, and then create a unique fingerprint. It helps to keep a track of the websites you visit.

Several Chinese applications were banned by the Indian government stating that there were possibilities of user data being used for data harvesting and investigating the information by state-backed authorities. Certain officials of other countries like Australia and the United States along with President Donald Trump are also following India. Opinions of the citizens vary individually and some take it positively, while some criticize it. In due course of time, it can lead to several splinternets.

India is a country where it believes in the safety of internet users. This country does not allow the internet to take over the control and leniency to its sovereign interests and public security, keeping in mind the rights and democratic values of the citizens. The internet is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution and it has prompted a new economy. The internet has evolved from defence labs in the 1960s to a wide-ranging reach in our daily lives. The internet, presently, has influenced users in creativity, entrepreneurship, and the capability to change an individual’s life. 

The digital platform was seen doing wonders during this pandemic that has affected the world widely. It has helped in many aspects such as in the field of education, medical assistance, etc. The internet and social media is the heart of digitalization for the democracy where it shows openness to the freedom of expression, the involvement of citizens, and participative governance. For certain reasons, from the fright of disappointing the Chinese investors, to showing concerns to the Indian democratic rights of the individual, they should not easily resort to bans and restrictions. Political will is limited on the side of the government to practice proper checks and balances. The dilemma has been taken advantage of, by these digital platforms. Due to all this, they get a secured grip on all the information consumed and such global platforms are restricted in China itself. On these grounds, India decided to ban all the Chinese suspected applications that are collecting the information of the users. By this step, the democratic rights of the individual and the morals of the Indian Constitution are protected. Billions of citizens in India are empowered digitally with the presence of the internet with platforms and products. 500 million Indians are adapting to the modern digital standard of life, from the past six years. Although smartphones are the main product that leads to digital life, for a smartphone to operate, applications are needed. Nearly 60 percent of the Indian market is covered with China-based phones which have an inbuilt application that is restricted in India. India encourages the need for providing different options for digital involvement and willingly accept digital globalization. We cannot turn a blind eye to the digital world that can also lead us to threats of wrong information, misuse of the information granted, and collaborations of national tech platforms and agencies to advancing of foreign policy goals.  The information provided by the user is used as a weapon and millions of citizens are falling into the trap of using the Chinese applications without the knowledge and consent of an individual.

Conclusion

TikTok has emerged as everyone’s favorite as it proved to be an effective platform for creative fashion. It became one of the most popular mobile apps surpassing all other social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. There are claims that the popular app is emerging as a great threat to democracy and for the National security of the nations. It is observed that the app leaks out customer’s data which leads to a question of violation of democratic freedom. 

India’s social and political organizations are different from those of other countries. In some countries, freedom is considered supreme whereas, in India, freedom is provided with certain limitations and citizens should adhere to those limitations. In recent times, National security concerns like cyber privacy matters, data privacy, free speech are inseparably intertwined. Due to its unethical way of functioning, many countries are taking up the measure to stop its citizens from operating TikTok.

But the question is whether the government’s involvement is necessary or it should be open for citizens to choose. There are many social media applications in the public domain for content creation but we need to consider the fact that whether such platforms are misused to trigger communal violence or any sort of distress among people. Democracy means where citizens are provided with the freedom to express, to showcase, to indulge in whatever they wish for, but without hurting anyone’s sentiments and within the limitations provided under the Constitution. TikTok was used by a wide variety of people including government servants, defence officers. Therefore, if the application results in compromising national security then the government has to indulge, and because of the same, the application is getting banned by several countries. The ban that has been put on Chinese applications does not mean to divide the internet but draw a line between platforms involved in democracies and the platforms involved under Chinese authorities and India made its choice.

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