TikTok was one of 59 applications, including the Chinese messaging platform WeChat and the UC Browser mobile browser, banned on Monday by the Indian government for posing a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”
The move follows a border clash between India and China earlier this month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
In an interview with India TV, actress Ashnoor Kaur, who has 3.2 million followers on TikTok, celebrated the government’s move by saying it presented an opportunity for India to become self-sufficient and use local apps.
“I am very happy with this decision and I am totally in favor of it,” she said, adding: “Your country comes first.”
Other celebrities urged the public to show empathy for the creators of TikTok.
“The fact that Tik-tokers have millions of fans is because people consume that content. You have also watched your videos silently, laughed with some, laughed at many. You forwarded those videos to your friends. These creators are also fellow Indians … Today you are celebrating the fall of all those who had built a brand for them out of sheer hard work, without any GODFATHER. So next time you ridicule someone, ask yourself what you would do if you woke up with the news that your business no longer exists. “
The company denied sharing user information “with any foreign government, including the Chinese government. Also, if we are asked to do so in the future, we would not.”
It is unclear how the ban will apply and how long it could last.
TikTok has a lot to lose in the second most populous country in the world. India has been the biggest driver of new TikTok downloads, generating nearly 660 million installations since its launch in 2017, according to analyst firm Sensor Tower.
The app has recently exploded in popularity worldwide. It was downloaded 315 million times from January to March, according to Sensor Tower, an amount the analyst company said outperformed any other app in a single quarter. TikTok now has more than 2 billion downloads in total, more than double its total from a year ago.