Why Free Fire Ban in India along with 320 Other Apps?

Why Free Fire Ban in India along with 320 Other Apps?

Garena Free Fire is a battle royale game that was released globally in 2021. This action-adventure game is a multiplayer game that looks similar to PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battleground) but differs in its arcade-style approach. The game fire fire got banned in India along with 320 other apps including PUBG in the month march 2022.

These games have been banned by the Ministry of State of Commerce and Industry. The information was shared in LokSabha by Som Prakash stating that these apps are banned as they can harm the sovereignty, security, and integrity of the country. The government banned similar apps in 2020. The government claims that Free Fire is similar to the apps that were earlier blocked. The Free Fire ban is in accordance with section 69A of the IT (Information Technology Act, 2000. According to a press release by BJP’s (Bhartiya Janta Party) MP (member of parliament) Som Prakash the 320 apps including Free Fire have been banned to ensure the safety, accountability, and trustworthiness of the internet users in India. The apps that the government has banned mostly include apps that are related to China and the government alleges that user data over these apps can be a probable security threat to the nation. The government alleges that these apps may collect sensitive data as they demand access to cameras and/or mic and may be involved in malicious network activities. However, the Free Fire game has its roots in a Singapore-based company that questions its ban in India. Although the government has not clarified the reason for the Free Fire ban in India, the possible reason could be the 18.7% stake of Tencent in Garena, a conglomerate company that belongs to China.

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Garena Free Fire has about 1 billion downloads on the play store. It holds over 40 million monthly active users in India alone while the total count of users is around 75 million. It is considered the 4th most popular battle royale mobile game after PUBG, Fortnite Battle Royale, and Call of Duty. While the other games in this category are based on real-looking characters, it has colorful and fantasy characters. This game has lots of similarities with PUBG such as in core battle royale gameplay and the characters’ weapons. Free Fire aces over PUBG in terms of graphics and the number of characters.

Despite the Free Fire ban in India the game is still available for users that have its latest version. Furthermore, there are several apk files over the internet that can be downloaded online through third-party sources. Although the imposed ban on these apps can cut the users of this app significantly, there is a loophole that the government must mitigate to make the ban effective.

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