In another sweeping move from the Government of India, it has slapped fresh ban on another 118 Chinese apps today. Citing security and threat and mishandling of users data, India had already imposed ban on 58 apps on June 29. The move comes after the news broke that a member of Indian special force was killed on Saturday night despite the truce.
The relationship between two power nations have strained since the bloody brawl at Galwan Valley left 20 Indian soldiers dead. While negotiations have continued to deescalate the tension, the digital platforms continue to suffer the brunt. Popular Chinese apps such as TikTok, Shareit, WeChat and UC Browser are already out of circulation in India. Since then speculation had grown over the future of other popular Chinese apps and today it was confirmed that more apps are going to be scrapped soon.
The casualty of the last ban was TikTok which boasted a massive 200 million users base. It was a sensation among Indian teens to reach out to their audience across the country dancing or acting over 15 second audio clip. The app was already banned for two weeks in May 2019 on account of potential exposure of children to cyber bullying and pornographic content before being permanently banned on June 29 2020.
Today’s ban meanwhile will hurt PUBG players most. With 175 million installations and 33 million active users in India it is one of the country’s most loved game. The Multiplayer Battle Royale game is owned by Tencent Holdings headquartered in Shenzhen, China. Doubts over the app’s future were in question ever since the first batch of apps were banned and now its fate has been sealed.
With today’s ban the number of the apps blacklisted has risen to 177. Regarding today’s decision, The Indian Government issued the following statement:
Government blocks 118 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order: Govt of India— ANI (@ANI) September 2, 2020
PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, PUBG MOBILE LITE, WeChat Work & WeChat reading are among the banned mobile apps. pic.twitter.com/VWrg3WUnO8
PUBG has never been off debates in India. After cases of theft, bullying and behavioral complaints rose, it was initially banned in March to dissuade kids from playing the game. However, citing technical constraints, the ban was lifted within weeks.
The recent ban on apps will further complicate the two country’s ongoing talk to restore peace and disengage troops from the dispute border region. It is debated whether mobile apps deserve such hostility in retaliation while proportionate aggression is required at the borders but for now multitudes of apps are banned and will soon be pulled from Play Store and Apps Store.