EU Investigates TikTok for Alleged Online Content Regulation Violations


The European Union (EU) has announced an investigation into the popular social media platform TikTok, owned by ByteDance, over suspicions of violating online content regulations aimed at safeguarding minors and ensuring transparent advertising practices.

The probe, initiated by EU industry chief Thierry Breton, follows a thorough assessment of TikTok’s risk evaluation report and its responses to inquiries.

“Today we open an investigation into TikTok over suspected breach of transparency & obligations to protect minors: addictive design & screen time limits, rabbit hole effect, age verification, default privacy settings,” Breton said on X.

Breton emphasized the focus of the investigation, highlighting concerns regarding TikTok’s potential failure to comply with transparency requirements and obligations to protect young users.

The issues cited include addictive design elements, limitations on screen time, age verification measures, and default privacy settings.

The scrutiny comes under the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which recently came into effect, mandating stricter measures for large online platforms to address illegal content and threats to public security. If found guilty of violating DSA regulations, ByteDance could face fines amounting to 6% of its global turnover.

In response to the investigation, TikTok reaffirmed its commitment to collaborating with experts and the industry to ensure the safety of its user base, particularly young individuals. The platform expressed readiness to provide detailed explanations of its efforts to the European Commission.

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A spokesperson for TikTok highlighted the company’s initiatives aimed at protecting teenagers and preventing under-13s from accessing the platform.

“TikTok has pioneered features and settings to protect teens and keep under-13s off the platform, issues the whole industry is grappling with,” the spokesperson said.

The investigation will delve into TikTok’s system design, including its algorithmic mechanisms, which may contribute to addictive behaviors and the proliferation of potentially harmful content. Additionally, it will assess whether TikTok has implemented adequate measures to uphold privacy, safety, and security standards for minors.

The Commission also aims to evaluate the platform’s transparency regarding advertisements to enable researchers to scrutinize potential online risks effectively.

This marks the second investigation under the DSA framework, following a previous inquiry into Elon Musk’s social media platform X in December of last year.

Source Reuters