Nearly three years after India’s ban on TikTok, the Chinese video sharing app has sacked all its 40 Indian employees. According to a report by the Economic Times, the workforce – laid off after a call this week – will be given a severance pay of 9 months.

The staff working out of the India-based office was looking after the Bytedance-owned company’s operations in Brazil and Dubai mostly. The report, quoting a source, said that February 28 would be the last day for the Indian workforce. Employees were also given hints that operations in India may not be renewed owing to the Indian government’s tough stand on Chinese applications.

TikTok, which enjoyed the second highest market in India with over 200 million users, was dealt a huge blow when it was banned in 2020 with 300 other Chinese apps citing national security. In 2019, the 15-second video app was the most downloaded app in India on Android.

TikTok could face a similar fate in the United States, where it has been the most downloaded app since 2021. Reports of China accessing user data to track location of US citizens have intensified the efforts to limit the app’s usage in the country.

Last December, US President Joe Biden signed a law banning TikTok from government devices. Over half of US states have passed similar regulations. Many colleges and schools have also followed suit. The House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to hold a vote this month on a bill aimed at blocking TikTok.

In November 2022, TikTok admitted that personal data of its European users could be viewed by its employees in China. The announcement applied to users in the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom and Switzerland but not the US. However, it added that European users’ data was stored in the US and Singapore.

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