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Bad rating to TikTok on Play Store is easy. Harder to act on rape culture in Indian schools

Social media platforms should be held accountable for hate speech, but demanding a TikTok ban proves that your anger is misplaced and your approach is myopic.

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Social media platforms must held accountable for letting hate speech thrive, but asking for a ban on TikTok won’t solve any of our problems.

Anger towards Faizal Siddiqui, the popular TikTok creator whose account has been suspended for glorifying acid attacks, is justified. But channeling this rage by demanding a ban on TikTok proves that not only is your anger misplaced, but your approach is also myopic, superficial and fruitless.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but acid attacks will not stop because some outraged upper middle-class Indians gave TikTok a bad rating on Play Store. (moved up)

Acid attacks are one of the most common crimes against women in India. Most cases reported attribute male frustration after facing rejection from women as a common cause for the violent act. In a hypermasculine society like ours, men believe they are the superior gender and women who do not bow down to this fact must be taught a lesson. If you’re fuming and want justice for acid-attack victims, consider this — India sees the highest number of acid attacks in the world, but the least number of convictions, less than 5 per cent every year.

A demand for retribution never actually addresses the root cause of the problem, which in this case is pervasive rape culture in Indian society.

If you want to be an armchair activist, please go ahead. But don’t stop at demanding a ban on TikTok. If you must contribute to a Google or Twitter trend, let it be #CancelRapeCulture and #DownWithPatriarchy. The hate and trolling you will receive in return might make you realise how long the fight to ensure safety for women truly is.

Also read: TikTok’s Play Store rating drops to 2 after app carries video ‘glorifying’ acid attack


Rehabilitation not retribution

Men grow up in a world in which women must make space for them, whether by dodging them, helping them, or ‘gladly’ accepting the role of standing right behind them as they go on to achieve greatness — behold the “behind every successful man is a woman” trope.

The truth is that schools are propagators of rape culture. When a teachers stands in front of an entire classroom with a mathematical compass to rip open up the seams of girl’s skirt, making it long enough so that she doesn’t ‘reveal’ her knees, what kind of message does it send to male students of the class? Moral policing slut shaming female students for wearing even lip balm cannot be justified as helping maintain decorum.

Part of the problem is our sex-averse school system, in which teachers shy away from even uttering the word ‘sex’, even when the subject matter being taught is reproduction. Even eight years after the 2012 Delhi rape case shook the entire country, there has been close to no educational reform. In 2019, the Delhi government introduced a gender sensitisation curriculum, wherein male students were made to take pledge to respect women.
— a perfect example of India’s redundant approach towards gender-based issues.

In Bollywood, too, the ‘chase’ has been glorified to such toxic level, that refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer and continuing to pursue (harass) a woman is considered the ultimate expression of love.

This is where acid attacks, rape and molestation find their roots. Unfortunately, the #NotAllMen defence is thrown up whenever conversations around such ‘uncomfortable’ issues come up.

Also read: Sona Mohapatra’s docu-film is her saying she won’t shut up, about her clothes, art, activism

Can’t let apps go scot-free

The responsibility social media has to not let hate speech thrive cannot and should not be dismissed.

Hate-filled messages, in fact, help social media giants make money because they end up attracting millions of views and shares. Hence, social media platforms end up doing very little to help regulate such content.

Social media platforms are also not held accountable for content generated by users on their platforms, as per Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, which exempts intermediaries from liability in cases where they did not themselves upload objectionable content.

But this seems to be changing as the demand and need for regulation becomes more urgent.

Fake news on WhatsApp can lead to riots, lynchings and is often used by political parties as a machinery to push their propaganda. Amid the pandemic, WhatsApp has limited how many messages can be forwarded at a time in the latest bid to curb fake news. It has also started a campaign educating users about not only the punitive consequences of forwarding fake news but also generating awareness of the kind of harm it can bring to society.

The educational campaign by Whatsapp comes closest to targeting a certain behaviour at its core, rather than merely issuing warnings.

Views are personal.

Also read: Twitter, Facebook profited a lot from India’s hate agenda. Time to pull the plug with a law


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  1. Your ultimate conclusion in this article is that anyone who demands tiktok ban is “myopic” or short-sighted, I would like to know on what basis do you say that, your approach towards it seems to me like a myopic way to look at it, because, you didn’t even try to point out many things other than the acid-attack promotion that occurred on tiktok, this app is sadly turned out to be not what it was intended to be, as clearly, it promotes a toxic mindset, can be observed by the cringe content, this is affecting many in India.

  2. Hello, by focusing on the topic of acid attacks and Indian rape culture, you are trying to completely ignore the fact what Tiktok prmotes and has been doing, indeed, what you said about the acid attacks and rape cutlture, is correct, but that does not mean those who demand a ban for tiktok are short sided, and when you call it fruitless, do you even logically try to understand what Tiktok is doing? Tiktok is developing a toxic mindset for the citizens, and it has been growing, Tiktok is basically “brain-washing” people, well, it appears you are short sided, your article is clouded by your own personal feelings, or, you are short sighted, either way, this article does nothing but misinforms people.

  3. This lady who write this article doesn’t have any proper knowledge about the topic…I can’t imagine that the print has this type of sarcastic🙄 people!!

  4. What’s the kickback you received from China to write this piece?
    Tiktok should be banned in India.

  5. How much money did China gave you?
    To keep turning normal people to make joke about wearning saree , promoting a particular religion ,
    spread hate between Indian community , promote terrorism .
    Kuch to saram karo.
    Also , the world want India to become paralysed and just keep scrolling . Using Tiktok is making out mind and body numb , keep scrolling like keep scrolling.

  6. Open Tiktok and play the app some days then you understand why demanding ban Tiktok in the World

  7. There are tens of millions of content uploaded on popular platforms like Tiktok every single day. Given the mentality we Indians grow up with and the broader societal problems concerning awareness and sex education in India, one would not be surprised if a large proportion of the content uploaded by users are vicious and inappropriate. It’s also to be noted that Tiktok has a very deep penetration in remote geographies in India where the problem is more pervasive. Also, it’s impossible to moderate so many pieces of content by humans.

    Nonetheless, if you check Tiktok, it seems to do a pretty good job culling out most of the content — they claim that they have very powerful machine learning systems for the same. However, being an AI scientist myself I can explain that no technology is powerful enough to cull out 100% improper content. In layman’s language, AI is still at a very nascent stage.

    So from tens of millions of content pieces per day, if they cannot cull out 6 odd pieces of content, it is not a big failure of the company, but rather a failure of the society and the governments in misappropriating the problem. Social media is just a reflection of our society that is rotten at its core. Our political system thrives on events like these and make it a grand opportunity for them to gain political mileage out of it.

    Let’s understand the core of the problem, and not try to blame just the social media platforms.

  8. Looks like you know nothing about this case and just wrote whatever little bit you know coz people giving 1 star rating is not due to Faizal Siddiqui’s acid attack video! It’s becoz of that YouTube v/s tiktok thing. So,do a bit more research and follow up things that has been going around.

  9. Looks like you know nothing about this case and just wrote whatever little bit you know coz people giving 1 star rating is not due to Faizal Siddiqui’s acid attack video! It’s becoz of that YouTube v/s tiktok thing. So,do a bit more research and follow up things that has been going around.

  10. Look, do you(The Print)have any sense/mind what you published. Two days back you came and said that people are jealous of them, change the subject to community, class etc. Next day, you change the whole subject and idea of perspective. For your kind information, when someone post a video on Tik-tok, it got public and people(mostly boys) are using the video for making rape, acid attack. Watch what the popular creator of Tik-tok doing on platform. ByteDance is earning money from the socalled Tik-tok platform where people with zero creativity and Tallent get famous easily start thinking they are actor/actress, Influencer whereas the people with real Tallent, creativity not get what they deserve. It’s the platform responsibility to remove the shits, anti-national activities, animal attack video from the platform.
    And the slang you used in your article other day “Hum to creativity ki tarf hain” and your creative platform promot rape, acid attack, animal attack, domestic violance, murder, hate, communal disturbances and Anti-national activities. Don’t publish a article without researching otherwise someday someone will came and sue you.
    Don’t misuse the power of media. And the last, you need a good article writer and choose the words after research wisely. Otherwise someday no one will care what you published.

  11. The print, u gave ur opinion on the basis of ur views of life.but the duty of media is to inforn not giving judgements bcoz u like or dislike something.It’s the people who did this & u r nobody to teach wht they should do.
    You are just an asshole who is a leftist & whose media house is run on communism mindset.
    Hell with u man.

  12. Ye India hai madam, is desh me sarkar b bahumat se banti hai, so shut your mouth and go to hell. Tiktok should be ban in india.

  13. Dear writer I am not as learnt as you are but you being a journalist (I hope so) you must know an role model influencer doing act in role play of acid attacks that content is watched by nearly 13 year old kids what will they think just give me your opinion
    And now in topic of tik tok ban
    If such content was viral that is because he was famous and how just because a mere Chinese app made this possible by giving him a platform
    Crime is illegal i guess
    Promoting to do crime is also illegal i guess
    Then by my conscience and many other fellow supporting tik tok ban in india
    The one who made such circumstances to occur and that person/firm/community/organization is also responsible and should be banned
    Who knows in next generation even news will be spread via tik tok within 15 sec no proof no investigation just for fun and some face it’s aftermath
    For your kind information
    I’m not well educated so pardon any of my grammar/spelling mistakes…

  14. ‘Harder to accept the rape culture in Indian school’
    Aren you a journalist or just a peon in a newspaper office. Kuch bhi muh me aya wo bak dia.

  15. Well , this type myopic and fruitless news was only expected from The Print. Actually your news is totally baised. You are numb after Suspension of Faizal’s account. This Tik Tok is such a toxic app which contains inappropriate content. This app doesn’t have any regulatory guidelines. But you people always ready to make a mountain of a mole hill.

  16. Hi,
    your analysis is completely biased towards tik tok. Suppose you have a deadly enemy Mr. X, and your enemy’s best friend (Mr.Y) is a best cook. Now you want to have best dinner everyday, and you employed Mr.Y. And you have your family in home, with your children and your parents everyone. Now what options you will take? Will you take risk? .

    Now I hope you understand Mr. X is china, Mr. Y is your TikTok and your family is our country. Slowly Mr.Y is poisoning your family, and you argue to take risk. On one side you have problems at the border with our military, and still you want best dinner everyday. Think rationally here, because beyond certain threshold, every rationale becomes irrational.

  17. just sit if u dnt hav anything to do… atleast sometime u should be happy & appreciate.. always poking is nt good.. tiktok is horrible.. this app should ban.. hav u seen those people who r struggling bt nt getting hype or anything through this app.. people r getting psycho.. & most of people making fun of themselves.. tiktok is a biased app.. #bantiktok..

  18. Wo school uniform hai uniform ka Matlab smhajte ho. Kuch rules follow karne hote hai koi slut-shame nhi kar raha kisi ladki ko. Boys ko bhi bolte hai hairstyle or pants par vo koi shame nhi hai office m tank top m to nhi jauga na main.
    Baaki jo bola vo toh theek hai par tiktok ban hona cahiye mostly underage use kar rahe hai usko or Bollywood to theek hona he padega. Sex education reforms ki need hai school m

  19. not acting against such apps is also an act of being an ignorant citizen ,
    did you even know about such content being circulated till it was exposed by lowering it’s rating until now ?
    taking step is better than just contemplating about it and delaying it infinitely ,
    lowering it’s rating was not easy FYI , yes it might not bring fundamental changes in toxic behaviours but it definitely is a bold and impactful step towards doing that , otherwise nothing was being done about it .
    so just like everything else why dont you appreciate the efforts being made while also giving the way forward instead of just sitting somewhere and criticizing the move just because it Dosent fit your definition of perfect mode of change , nothing is perfect all starts here

    • Because its stupid, all we are doing is trying to do morale justice on social media which doesn’t mean sh… because people will always find way to making offensive content
      We are not making a step, we are pretending to make a step and we are essentially banning a app of millions because of some moron

    • Banning a famous app like tiktok will surely be a big and bold statement in the right direction. It will prove that big corporates like these cannot always bypass legal framework of a country. After failing to remove acid attack and rape videos from the app, it is quite clear that it has a very lackluster moderatiton and content moderation is not really a priority of its owners. For this reason, banning the app seems to be the natural action going forward.

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