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Updated February 19th, 2024 at 21:08 IST

TikTok under EU scrutiny for digital rulebook breach

The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to assess if TikTok has breached last year’s Digital Services Act

Reported by: Business Desk
TikTok
TikTok | Image:Unsplash
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EU rulebook flouted: The European Union is investigating Chinese social media platform TikTok for breaching its tough digital rules, which intend to keep social media clean and maintain user safety.

EU’s executive branch, the European Commission has formally proceeded an investigation into TikTok transgressing limitations on last year’s Digital Services Act.

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Abbreviated as DSA, the regulations have been formulated for maintaining the safety of internet users. This also requires the ease to for users to report any harmful or illegal content such as hate speech, and provide a choice for algorithmic recommendations.

It also cracks down on advertisements targeted at minors.

The commission's focus is if TikTok is taking enough steps to curb any “systemic risks” rooted in its design, which also involve "algorithmic systems." These have the potential to stimulate “behavioral addictions." 

Measures including age verification tools for prohibiting minors from finding “inappropriate content” is not likely to be “reasonable, proportionate and effective.” 

Protecting minors is a top enforcement priority for the DSA, EU's internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said, adding that being a social media company that is accessible to millions of children and teenagers, TikTok must comply completely with the guidelines of the DSA, which has a cut-out role in the protection of children online.

 Tiktok responded by launching a formal proceeding for infringement from today, which will ensure “proportionate action for protecting the physical and emotional well-being of young Europeans.” 

As part of its features, TikTok has helmed settings for safeguarding teenagers, keeping minors under the age of 13 away from the social media, it said, adding that the entire industry is grappling with these issues.

The platform will continue its work with experts and industry for keeping young people on TikTok safe, it said, as it looks forward to having an opportunity to tell its side of the work it has undertaken “in detail” to the Commission. 

The European Commission is parallelly conducting a check on TikTok's privacy measures for minors, as well as transparency measures on advertisements. It will also see if all researchers have access to the data.

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According to the EU, TikTok is among 24 of the biggest online and social media platforms deserving the highest level of scrutiny under the DSA, facing hefty fines in case it does not comply with the regulations. 

Before this, EU has been investigating Elon Musk's X, earlier called Twitter, which breaches rules such as not curbing illegal content. 

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Published February 19th, 2024 at 21:08 IST

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