EU Opens Investigation into TikTok Over Breach of Online Content Rules

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Judith Mariya

Published on February 26, 2024, 09:03:58


European Union, TikTok, digital servicers act, Children

The European Union (EU) has launched a formal investigation into whether TikTok has violated online content rules, including those related to the safeguarding of children.

The European Commission announced that it had initiated official proceedings against the Chinese-owned short video platform for potential breaches of the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The move closely follows the recent passage of a landmark law by the European Union aimed at protecting the fundamental rights of digital platform users. The act mandates that digital companies must take action against illegal and problematic content shared in the digital space.

The European Commission said the investigation is focused on several key areas such as safeguarding minors, monitoring advertising content, and evaluating the impact of its algorithms on user experiences, particularly concerning potentially harmful content exposure.

 “The inquiry aims to address concerns regarding child safety on TikTok, including age verification and privacy settings for children's accounts, following previous penalties imposed on the platform for data law breaches,” Thierry Breton, the EU's Commissioner for Internal Market, was quoted as saying in a media report.

"As a platform with a significant youth audience, TikTok must adhere fully to the DSA and play a pivotal role in safeguarding minors online," Breton added, underscoring the commission's commitment to ensuring adequate measures are taken to protect the well-being of young Europeans.

In response to previous fines from Irish and UK regulators for data law violations involving minors, TikTok asserted its commitment to collaborating with experts and industry stakeholders to enhance platform safety for young users.

The commission's investigation also encompasses TikTok's transparency in providing data to researchers and its compliance with ad database requirements. The inquiry timeline remains open-ended, contingent on various factors including the complexity of the case and TikTok's cooperation.

The scrutiny on TikTok follows a similar inquiry into Elon Musk's social media platform X, with investigations focusing on issues like content moderation and combating disinformation.

Separately, reports indicate that Apple is facing potential fines from the EU over its conduct in the music streaming app market, particularly allegations of obstructing alternative subscription methods outside its app store. While Apple declined to comment on the investigation, it reiterated its commitment to addressing the commission's concerns while advocating for competition and consumer choice.

This development underscores the growing regulatory scrutiny faced by tech giants like Apple and Google, with ongoing investigations and legal battles highlighting concerns over monopolistic practices and competition in digital markets.

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