New Delhi: After the Supreme Court (SC) refused to interfere with the Madras High Court’s order banning Chinese video app TikTok, Google blocked access to the app thus prohibiting its downloads. According to an IT ministry official, the Centre had sent a letter to Apple and Google to abide by the high court’s order.

The app is no longer available on Google’s Play store in India but it is still present on Apple platforms. Meanwhile, Google released a statement saying it does not comment on individual apps but adheres to local laws.

The Madras High Court had on April 3 asked the centre to ban TikTok, stating it encouraged pornography and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators. The high court’s ruling came after an individual had launched public interest litigation (PIL) calling for a ban.

Meanwhile, the apex court has ordered further hearing in the matter on April 22. The decision by the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, came on an appeal by Chinese company ByteDance, which developed the app, contending that the High Court order was ex-parte.

TikTok, in a statement, said: “We are committed to continuously enhancing our existing measures and introducing additional technical and moderation processes as a part of our ongoing commitment to our users in India. In line with this, we have been stepping up efforts to take down the objectionable content.”

TikTok also said that to date, “we have removed over 6 million videos that violated our terms of use and community guidelines, following an exhaustive review of contents generated by our users in India”.

TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. It became hugely popular in India so much so that it had been downloaded more than 240 million times in February this year. Jokes, clips and footages of movies along with memes and videos in which youngsters, some scantily clad, lip-sync and dance to popular music are some of the content on this platform.