HomeWinBuzzer NewsEuropean Union Questions TikTok's Efforts in Protecting Minors and Data Privacy

European Union Questions TikTok’s Efforts in Protecting Minors and Data Privacy

EU probes TikTok under new law, focusing on child safety, algorithm risks, and ad transparency. Investigation follows EU's review


Days after the implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Union has embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the social media platform TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The probe, announced by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, targets the platform’s adherence to transparency and its obligations toward protecting minors. The decision to investigate comes on the heels of a preliminary review that led TikTok to submit a risk assessment in September of the previous year.

Scope of the Probe

The EU’s inquiry delves into several critical aspects of TikTok’s operations. The primary focus is on the platform’s compliance with DSA mandates that aim to mitigate systemic risks. These include the examination of TikTok’s algorithmic mechanisms that could potentially lead to addictive behaviors or lead users down harmful content paths—popularly referred to as “rabbit hole effects.” Additionally, the investigation scrutinizes TikTok’s deployment of age verification technologies, assessing their effectiveness in shielding minors from unsuitable content.

A significant part of the inquiry concerns TikTok’s efforts to guarantee privacy, safety, and security for younger users, specifically through default privacy settings and recommenders. Also under review are the measures TikTok has taken to enhance the transparency of its advertisement repository, ensuring that ad presentations on the platform are easily searchable and verifiable, in line with Article 40 of the DSA.

Potential Outcomes and TikTok’s Response

With the Digital Services Act as its legal framework, the European Union has set its sights on enforcing strict compliance among major online platforms. TikTok, identified as a Very Large Online Platform and a Gatekeeper due to its substantial user base exceeding 45 million monthly users in the EU alone, now faces intense scrutiny. If found in violation, the social media giant could incur penalties amounting to up to six percent of its global turnover or endure an “enhanced supervision period” where EU authorities closely monitor its compliance measures.

As the investigation unfolds, the EU has made it clear that the duration of this comprehensive review depends on various factors, including TikTok’s cooperation and the complexity of the issues at hand. At this time, TikTok’s response to the investigation remains awaited. The platform’s engagement with the European Commission’s inquiries will be a pivotal aspect of this ongoing narrative, highlighting the broader implications for digital platforms operating within the stringent regulatory landscape of the European Union.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.