Recently, videos by so-called TikTok influencers like Faizal Siddiqui and Mujibur Rehman have demeaned women by promoting attacks on them and even promoting rape. Amid the controversy over objectionable videos posted on the popular social media platform of TikTok, National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma spoke to ORGANISER Senior Correspondent Nishant Kr Azad. Rekha Sharma has called for a ban on the Chinese video-sharing platform, saying the application is “pushing youngsters towards unproductive life”.
• Recently, we have seen many anti-women contents on social media, especially on TikTok. We have seen videos which promote acid attack, rape culture, love jihad and many more. What are the ways you can suggest to control such apps in the long run?
The responsibility lies with App Managers and the people themselves. The app should have a proper mechanism to check the posts before they are shared in the public domain. People themselves should have some sense of responsibility and not to glorify criminal acts against anyone – women, senior citizens, animals, religion, society, nation etc. And if someone is doing that, immediate legal should be taken against the culprit.
• You have taken objections to specific videos on TikTok. There has been a problem with the content shared on this platform. How to address this?
I have taken up the matter with TikTok, and they have removed a few videos which I had sent to them. They have also suspended the particular account. But ultimately, that is not the solution. It is not my duty to send the list of videos every day and tell them to remove them. The platform should ensure that such obscene and criminal contents are not shared.
• Social media platforms have a critical influence on inculcating values related to the dignity of women. As the Chairperson of National Commission for Women, what are the options that you can suggest to control such platforms?
National Commission for Women is an advisory body. If they do not comply with the suggestions of the Commission, I will take up the issue with the Government of India to ban such applications.
The responsibility lies with App Managers and people themselves too. The app should have a proper mechanism to check the posts before they are shared in the public domain. People themselves should have some sense of responsibility and not to glorify criminal acts.
• Are there any sensitisation initiatives for youth to curb such menace?
Firstly, parental guidance is a must. Schools too have responsibilities to shape student’s moral values. And yes NCW is doing gender sensitisation of students. But basically, it is the family’s responsibility to pay attention to their kids and guide them.
• Are there any legal options to deal with the unruly behaviour on social media?
Yes, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can take action against such platforms under the IT act.
• There is a fresh wave of demand for banning TikTok in India. In 2019 also, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, along with other social organisations, gave a similar call on the ground of protecting national security. Your Opinion.
In my view, it must be banned as not enough measures are taken by the company to control abusive acts whether against women or India. Generally, women are the first target of dirty jokes and violence. Such technological tools are further adding fuel by publicising such inhuman behaviour. It is good that people themselves are coming forward to clamour for a ban on the TikTok. We must have our own app to have effective control.