April 18, 2024

EU Probes Into TikTok For Child Safety And Content Violation

TikTok is under fire again by the EU which has launched a formal investigation on the app to check if their security measures are enough to protect minors or not. There are also rumors of TikTok’s content violating the provisions made by the landmark Digital Services Act (DSA).

The Digital Services Act is brand new, imposed on the qualifying parties from Feb 17, 2024.

It requires all big social media apps, search engines, and other online platforms (the ones with more than 45 million monthly users in the bloc) to be more proactive in content monitoring so that the users aren’t at risk of addiction. It also requires the companies to do more to ensure child safety online.

The EU is also looking into whether the app keeps a record of its advertising content and if its algorithm is leading users toward a spiral of harmful content. If TikTok is found guilty of violating the rules, it’ll cost the company a fine of 6% of its total global revenue.

This isn’t a sudden investigation. In fact, EU industry chief Thierry Breton confirmed that they only launched the probe after evaluating the company’s risk assessment report and its response to requests for information.

Today we open an investigation into TikTok over a suspected breach of transparency & obligations to protect minors: addictive design & screen time limits, rabbit hole effect, age verification, default privacy setting.Thierry Breton

According to him, TikTok reaches millions of children and teenagers in the bloc. Hence, it has a great deal of influence over their well-being. So the social media giant must comply with all the rules of the DSA and take more initiative in protecting its minor users online.

It’s not like TikTok hasn’t taken any initiative to protect children online. It does have an age verification tool that restricts people from viewing age-inappropriate content. However, in a press release on Monday, the European Commission said it’s not entirely effective in keeping kids away from harmful content.

What Does TikTok Have To Say About This Investigation?

TikTok has been very cooperative. In a statement released by its spokesperson, the company confirmed that it has taken necessary and added features to the app that will keep anybody below 13 off the platform.

They also added that it’s just the beginning, they’ll continue to work and collaborate with industry experts to come up with better ways to protect minors on the platform and keep those under the age restriction away from it. They are also looking forward to explaining all the work they have done for this cause to the commission.

TikTok is the second company facing an investigation from the EU over the violation of the DSA Act since its commencement. Last December, Elon Musk and X found themselves in a similar situation after the EU decided to investigate whether the platform is doing enough to curb the spread of illegal content and disinformation.

Before this formal investigation was launched, both TikTok and X were sent a request by the commission asking for more details about the steps they have taken to comply with the newly enacted DSA laws. Both the companies had responded to the request then.

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