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Tiktok alternative Mitron is apparently a rebadged Pakistani app

(Image credit: Future)

Tiktok’s dream run in India came to a halt after the enraged populace got vocal against the app and left millions of negative reviews on the app markets. Mitron TV was the biggest winner of this feud, as it gained more than five million users in a short span of time. However, there might be more than what meets the eye.

Tiktok is no stranger to controversy in India. Last week, millions of users took to the Google Play store to voice their opinions about the app and brought down its rating to 1.4 stars in a matter of days. This incident was sparked after a creator on the platform seemingly glorified acid attack as a part of a revenge plan. The app’s Chinese origin didn’t help either, in a time when sinophobia was at an all-time high. 

At the same time, a new competitor suddenly emerged in the form of Mitron TV. Earlier rumours even suggested that it was an app from the Indian government to tackle Tiktok, which put it in the spotlight overnight. It was later reported to be an app developed by an IIT student.

Made in India? Not really! 

In an interesting turn of events, News18 has discovered that Mitron isn’t really an Indian app and was simply bought from a Pakistani software company. According to Ifran Sheikh, the founder of Qboxus, the entire source code for the app was merely purchased for $34 (~Rs 2,500), slapped with a new logo and uploaded to the Play store. “The problem is with people referring to it as an Indian-made app, which is not true especially because they have not made any changes”, he told News18.

While it is not really illegal or uncommon to buy a source code to get started on an app, Mitron’s promoter, ShopKiller eCommerce also failed to share details around the app’s privacy policy and data handling, when News18 enquired. The only consolation is that Mitron hosts data on its own servers, but didn’t clarify its handling either.

In a sensitive time like now, it is more important than ever before to be extra cautious before sharing news. Not only can some parties get undue advantage from it, but it can also put user data at risk. 

The latest update

Upon doing a bit more research, we found that the domain shopkiller.in registered via GoDaddy to Shivank Agarwal with the address showing as S132, Govind Bhawan, IIT Roorkee, which appears to add up since the reports suggested that the app was indeed developed by a student of the premier academic institution. 

Coming to the app itself, Mitron seeks permissions from the Android device on access to photos, camera, microphone and internal storage. While most of these is essential for a video sharing device, the challenge is one cannot find the privacy policy on the app at the time of writing this. 

The developer website is mentioned as mitron.tv, which upon opening redirects the user to a Google Play page, which appears to be blank at this moment. That there is no information available on privacy, the developers or the owner for  an app that has more than 500,000 downloads is tough to fathom. 

So, where does it leave users already using the app? It could be that the developer wasn't prepared for the sudden spurt in downloads. But, should users give them the benefit of the doubt or should they delete the app till everything in place?

We leave it to your choice, though our recommendation is that keep Mitron aside till such time as all the pre-requisites are in place.