India’s ban on TikTok is resulting in financial loss of up to $500,000 a day for its developer, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, and has put more than 250 jobs at risk, the company said in a court filing, Reuters reported.
TikTok, popular Chinese video app, allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Earlier this month, an Indian state court ordered the government to prohibit its downloads, saying the app was encouraging pornography. Acting upon instructions from the federal IT ministry, Apple and Google last week removed TikTok from their India app stores.
The developments have dealt a blow to the India growth plans of Bytedance, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and by private equity. Bytedance, one of the world’s most valuable startups potentially worth around $75 billion, was considering a public listing in Hong Kong this year, Reuters reported in August.
The ban has worried the social media industry in India as it sees legal worries mounting if courts increasingly regulate content on their platforms.
Bytedance in the filing made to India’s Supreme Court on Saturday urged the court to quash the ban and direct the federal IT ministry to tell companies such as Google and Apple to make the app available again on their platforms.
Bytedance pegged financial losses at $500,000 each day, which it said includes destruction in the value of its investments and loss of commercial revenue. It added the ban would result in its reputation and goodwill taking a hit with both advertisers and investors.
“Banning has had adverse impact on the user base of this app, losing close to 1 million new users per day. It is estimated that approximately six million requests for downloads could not be effected since the ban came into effect,” the company said in the filing.
The Supreme Court has so far not provided any interim relief on repeated pleas by Bytedance and referred the case back to the court in southern Tamil Nadu state, where the case will next be heard on Wednesday.