Contrary to ongoing reports, the Government of India hasn’t ordered Google and Apple to ban Chinese apps like TikTok and CamScanner from Play Store and App Store respectively. The Government’s clarification comes in response to a viral message of an order allegedly from the National Informatics Centre (NIC) doing the rounds claiming that Google and Apple have been prohibited from making some very “specific” apps available on their respective stores.
The purported order mentions 15 apps, most of them based out of China (which means most of them are made by Chinese developers/companies), including LiveMe, Bigo Live, Vigo Video, BeautyPlus, CamScanner, Clash of Kings, Mobile Legends, TikTok, ClubFactory, Shein, Romwe, AppLock, Club Factory, VMate, and Game of Sultans. The Government of India, via its @PIBFactCheck handle, has confirmed that the order that’s doing the rounds is “fake.”
Claim: A viral message of an order allegedly from NIC claims that @GoI_Meity has prohibited some apps from being made available on App Stores. #PIBFactCheck: The Order is #Fake. No such instruction has been given by @GoI_MeitY or NIC. pic.twitter.com/Dt7rMR7nIz
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) June 19, 2020
This doesn’t mean such a ban isn’t possible in the future though. This is because intelligence agencies have reportedly raised a red-flag over the use of 52 apps, many of them with links to China, over privacy concerns, and advised the Government to either block these apps or discourage Indians from using them. TikTok is again mentioned in this list, so are a couple of apps from Xiaomi. Zoom also somehow figures in the list, though it is made by a company based out of the US.
The Government of India is said to have taken due cognizance of the issue and is reportedly in the process of examining the risks involved with using these apps on a per app basis. Only time will tell, how things will transpire for these apps in India in the days to come.
All of this comes amid the ongoing India-China standoff and therefore it’s self explanatory that we’re dealing with a very sensitive issue here. The Government’s clarification is a welcome step, and also a wake up call, to not blindly believe everything we see on the internet or WhatsApp groups.