‘China Attacks Map, India App’: Netizens React to ‘Digital Strike’

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As the world celebrates Social Media Day, the decision to ban apps like TikTok from India a day before seems to be quite ironic for its 119 million Indian users cum influencers who used the social media platform for many purposes from entertainment to teaching. In Kashmir, the response largely remained the wittiest.

By Swati Joshi

FOR a long time now, teacher Shafat Kirmani was hoping to see the content-creating app like Tik Tok to fade away from social media. Behind the wish was his belief that such platforms make youth delusional and take them away from the real life goals and purposes. Even as many wouldn’t agree with the young teacher’s viewpoint, his tribe, of late, was only growing.

In mainland India, the scathing media-driven campaign against Chinese Apps had taken roots on the heels of the ongoing Sino-India standoff at Ladakh.

As the “economic strike” cry resonated, policymakers in New Delhi seriously mulled to enforce the ban on Beijing’s digital platforms having millions of followers in India.

Finally on June 29, the Ministry of Information and Technology under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Rules 2009 decided to block 59 apps, including Tik Tok.

The Ministry justified the ban since “these apps are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order”.

The banned apps will be given a chance to respond to the government on the charges imposed on them.

According to the responses, the government will decide whether to remove the ban or continue it.

While Omar Abdullah wished PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) to be a Chinese app, many youngsters were relieved when the app was not on the government’s list.

PUBG is a battle-royale video game in which 100 players are air dropped in an area which keeps on shrinking with time and the players have to fight for their survival. Though it was developed in China, Tencent, a video game company, has licensed PUBG.

But many people welcomed the government’s move as “it will hit China where it hurts the most”.

Strongly back the idea of banning these #59Chinese apps. Most were stealing data of Indian citizens. In any case China doesn’t allow international companies to run their apps in mainland China. Economic cooperation cannot be a one way street. Hit China where it hurts most. pic.twitter.com/WikfRlo5zY

— Haroon Akram (@listenharoon) June 29, 2020

Amid the barrage of reactions, social media was dominated by what some netizens called “digital strike” on China.

Many Kashmiris for the day were at their wittiest best while deconstructing the government decision to ban the Chinese Apps.

The move by the government comes amidst the protest by people over the clash between the Indian and Chinese forces in the Galwan valley in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

However, many Twitterati feel that the decision by the government to ban Chinese app in comparison to China’s attack on the Galwan Valley is worthless.

Though 59 apps are banned by the Indian government yet most of the posts on social media posts are about TikTok.

Many influencers who were earning from TikTok by working with brands will face a backslash by the government’s move.

Nikhil Gandhi, TikTok India Head posted an update on twitter and stressed that Tiktok always comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and it has not shared any information with any foreign government.

Many people blamed the government for partial behavior since it has not banned many companies like Paytm and BigBasket which receive huge investments from China.

Ant financial is one of the biggest investors of Paytm, the fintech company of Alibaba. Its parent company has raised $1 million from new and existing investors and some of them were Chinese.

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Swati Joshi

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