Politics
The TN Information Technology minister compared TikTok to the Blue Whale challenge, after an MLA said it was creating law and order issues.

If things go as per the plan of the Tamil Nadu government, the people of the state may not get to use one of their favorite apps - TikTok.

A discussion regarding the lip-sync app took place in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on Tuesday in which Nagapattinam MLA Thamimun Ansari requested the government to ban the app. He said that the app creates law and order problems, and many obscene activities take place on it, hence it would only be appropriate to ban the app in Tamil Nadu.

Replying to this remark, Information Technology minister M Manikandan said that the government of Tamil Nadu will recommend the central government to ban the app, just like how it took steps when people were worried about the Blue Whale challenge. However, no information regarding a possible timeline was given by the minister.

Thamimun Ansari told TNM that he received many calls appreciating his call for a ban on TikTok. "Many school and college students are using it. They and their families are getting affected by it, it's ripping them apart," he said.

Created by ByteDance, a Chinese Internet technology company, Tik Tok has gained massive popularity across Asia clocking over 500 million users. The app allows users to upload and view lip-synced videos, music and other performances. In India, it is largely used by people to enact popular videos or film scenes and share their own versions of it. The app also has a variety of filters and editing features to make the videos attractive for the users.

Politicians in Tamil Nadu, cutting across party lines, are mocked and trolled a lot on TikTok.

Is the comparison with Blue Whale Challenge valid?

The comparison to the Blue Whale Challenge does not make sense in the case of TikTok. Blue Whale was an internet phenomenon in which young people reportedly played a dangerous 'game', which would assign them self-harming tasks. TikTok is a platform that obviously gets misused, but that's something that happens on any social media platform.

Back in 2017, the Indian government initially said that it was banning the Blue Whale ‘game’, which reportedly targeted young adults and teenagers. It would reportedly lead them through a series of tasks that would emotionally isolate them, physically exhaust them, and compel them into self-harm.

However, the problem with the government’s remedy and claims of banning the Blue Whale Challenge was that it was not an app. The steps to ‘play’ this challenge could easily be found on the internet or any social media platform. Experts had back then told TNM that Blue Whale was a game one can play over any medium that allows personal communication like email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Skype. 

TikTok on the other hand is an app and therefore can be subject to a ban. However, its format – short videos, lip syncing to popular dialogues and tunes – has been taken up by many other platforms due to its popularity.