The long-gone TikTok might not cross the minds of many in India who were once addicted to it, but for some, it continues to be a form of entertainment. The short video app was banned in India on June 29 in 2020, yet the platform is being accessed by many Indians, and how? Well, read on.
Recent data released by SimilarWeb revealed that TikTok in December 2020 had more active Indian users than the users on Instagram. The report added that despite the ban in India, TikTok was one of the most used the app between August and October.
So how, despite the ban, TikTok is accessible in India?
If you scoop out the technicalities, you would find that the ban by India was for new installs. The ban also barred people from re-installing the app if they have uninstalled it. However, those who have the app could still access the platform.
Also, despite the app ban, the old users are finding ways to download and use it. The app can still be downloaded from various websites, which provide the .apk file (this file format allows installation from sources other than trusted ones), said Pulkit Sharma, co-founder and CEO, Khabri, a digital audio platform.
Users have also found a way to bypass the ban using VPN. Experts say that accessing the apps via VPN has become google-search easy and allows access to blocked sites very easily.
But why use a site which is banned?
Gautam Madhavan, Founder of an influencer marketing company, explains:
“TikTok is a global platform. It is accessible outside India in countries like Dubai, Nepal, Sri Lanka where Indian content is very much preferred. In fact, followers increased for many influencers who were not able to use the app after the ban. While influencers/content creators were not even creating content on the app, they were getting followers from international markets,” Madhavan added.
Shenoy added that the home-grown apps, despite the TikTok ban, couldn’t grow because many people lost confidence to start from scratch and grow their user base. Thus they diverted to the Instagram Reels app where these influencers already have a good following.
Shenoy now awaits to see if TikTok will continue to entertain a similar number of users it had during the period between August to October last year.
“New trends were out after October, there were shopping festivals which means a lot of brand activities for influencers. Also, the festive period. So, many tent-pole events for influencers. At that point in time, TikTok may not have seen much traction.”