The Indian government may have banned the two-minute video platform TikTok, but Indians are still downloading the app. Downloads for TikTok’s Android application package (APK) on popular APK downloading website, APKMirror, almost doubled since the ban, the platform told Mint. With TikTok disappearing from Google Play, sideloading the app through APKs is pretty much the only way for new users to get the app.
The incident is reminiscent of what happened last time TikTok was banned in India. In 2019, four days after a court order banned TikTok in the country, APKMirror saw an increase in download of the apk by roughly 15 times.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked telcos to start blocking these applications in India. TikTok had voluntarily stopped its service in the country Tuesday, and sent an in-app notification to users informing them of the same.
The government on Monday banned TikTok, Helo, Vigo Video and 56 other Chinese apps for being a threat to India’s sovereignty and security. TikTok said in a statement that it would meet the government to discuss the matter.
Nikhil Gandhi, TikTok’s India head, said the company has been invited by the Indian government “for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications”. It’s unclear when Bytedance, the company behind TikTok, and other firms whose apps have been banned are meeting the government. Sources say that notices have been issued to the companies, informing them that a hearing will be held soon.
The ban also includes popular apps like UC Browser and UC News, both of which fall under UCWeb, which in turn is owned by the AliBaba Group. A bunch of apps owned by Tencent are also part of the 59 that were banned, while Xiaomi’s Mi Community app has also been blocked.