Vernacular social media apps spreading vulgar content in India
Apps like Hot Bigo and Vigo Video are filled with inappropriate content. These apps have already garnered millions of downloads on Google Play Store.
In the era where apps control our lives, the rapid spread of explicit vulgar content via social networking platforms, especially in regional languages, has become a matter of concern in India.
While some apps like China-based TikTok came under fire for not filtering inappropriate content on its platform, several not-so-famous apps are also earning large revenue via unfiltered and vulgar content.
Most of these apps are free to download while some of them let users make an in-app purchase as well to let them "unlock special features".
One such app, available on Google Play Store is called 'Hot Bigo' that has been downloaded over 100,000 times. The live-streaming app shows inappropriate pictures of Asian girls on its thumbnail and says it is "a collection of Bigo streaming videos, live hot".
Another such app called 'Vigo Video' has also managed to gather millions of downloads on the Google Play Store and lets users "follow and interact with other video makers, send private messages, shoot clips with background music and share videos on social media".
Even as these apps aren't downloaded by most smartphone users in the country, the videos doing the rounds on them are circulated on popular social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, which are accessible by all. Ever since Instagram tightened its rules around showing sexually explicit content, creators have stopped keeping such "special pages that cater to a specific set of adults" open for anybody to follow.
Minors who get a hang of such short-video making apps not only get hooked to them instantly, but also come under the risk radar of being exposed to or involved in dangerous and sexually explicit content that could make them victims of cyber crimes.
According to reports, in the absence of adequate human moderators, such material are slipping through the automated systems of these popular platforms.
Earlier in April, the Madras High Court had asked the Central government to ban TikTok, saying it spoils the future of youth and minds of children. The court said inappropriate content was being provided by the app and the government had a social responsibility to stop it.