Apple and Google have removed TikTok and 58 other mostly Chinese apps from their stores after an order from the Indian government banned them in the country.
These apps, which include other popular platforms such as WeChat, are “temporarily blocked,” a Google spokesperson said.
“While we continue to review the interim orders from the Government of India, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India.”
The Independent has reached out to Apple for comment.
India’s Ministry of Information Technology said that apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
It also claimed that these apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India“, although gave no specificities as to what apps or data practises resulted in the legislation.
TikTok has 200 million users in India, and posted a statement on Twitter.
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with nay foreign government, including the Chinese government,” it wrote.
“Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so”
Some developers including Bytedance, which owns TikTok, voluntarily pulled their apps, according to Techcrunch.
Many of the online versions of the applications have apparently been blocked by internet service providers in India.
At the same time, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo was also blocked in India.
The block could be bypassed by changing the address of a user’s DNS server, or using different browsers such as Tor.
India and China have been disputing a border conflict over the Galwan Valley, where 20 Indian soldiers died. It is the most deadly confrontation in the area in 45 years. As such, there is much anti-China sentiment in India.
Earlier this month, Google banned an app called “Remove China Apps” which scanned user devices for apps developed in China and uninstalled them.
That app has since returned online, seemingly under the name “List All Apps & Uninstaller.”