Apps like Hot Bigo and Vigo Video are filled with inappropriate content. These apps have already garnered millions of downloads from Google Play Store.
In the era where apps are controlling our lives, the rapid spread of explicit vulgar content through social media platforms, especially in regional languages, has become a matter of concern in India.
While some apps like China-based TikTok have come under fire for failing to filter out inappropriate content on its platform, several lesser-known apps are also generating significant revenue from unfiltered and vulgar content.
Most of these apps are free to download, while some of them also allow users to make an in-app purchase to allow them to “unlock special features”.
One such app, available on Google Play Store, is called “Hot Bigo” and has been downloaded over 100,000 times. The live-streaming app shows inappropriate images of Asian girls on its thumbnail and says it’s “a collection of Bigo, live streaming videos.”
Another such app called “Vigo Video” has also managed to garner millions of downloads on the Google Play Store and allows users to “follow and interact with other videographers, send private messages, film clips with background music and share videos on social networks”.
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Even though these apps are not downloaded by most smartphone users in the country, the videos circulating there are streamed on popular social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook which are accessible to everyone. Since Instagram tightened its rules around displaying sexually explicit content, creators have stopped keeping these “special pages that cater to a specific group of adults” open to everyone.
Minors who master these short video maker apps not only instantly get hooked on them, but also run the risk of being exposed to or involved in dangerous and sexually explicit content that could make them victims of cybercrimes.
According to reports, in the absence of adequate human moderators, this material slips into the automated systems of these popular platforms.
Earlier in April, the Madras High Court called on the central government to ban TikTok, saying it was spoiling the future of young people and the minds of children. The court said inappropriate content was being provided by the app and the government had a social responsibility to stop it.