EU Investigates TikTok: Child Protection and Algorithmic Concerns Raised

By Consultants Review Team Tuesday, 20 February 2024

The European Union initiated an official investigation into TikTok's potential failure to safeguard minors online, citing concerns over the "rabbit hole" effect and compliance with new digital content regulations. This inquiry, under the Digital Services Act (DSA), marks the EU's second probe into a major online platform after previously targeting Elon Musk's X in December.

Brussels worries that TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, may not adequately address negative impacts on young users, particularly regarding algorithmic content recommendations leading to potentially harmful material. The European Commission expressed doubts about TikTok's age verification tools, questioning their effectiveness and proportionality. Formal proceedings will also assess areas like advertising transparency and data access for researchers.

Regulators will gather evidence while empowering further enforcement actions if necessary. The EU emphasized TikTok's responsibility as a platform serving millions of children and teenagers, aiming to ensure their physical and emotional well-being.

TikTok, with over 142 million monthly EU users, claims to prioritize safety measures for minors. However, the formal investigation will scrutinize its risk assessment, compliance with privacy regulations for minors, advertising practices, and transparency efforts. The DSA grants the EU authority to impose substantial fines, potentially up to six percent of a digital firm's global revenues, for violations. Platforms may face blocking in the EU for severe and repeated breaches.

Implemented last year, the DSA applies to major online platforms like TikTok and X, as well as Facebook and Instagram. It mandates stricter content moderation and rapid responses to protect online users. The ongoing investigation underscores the EU's commitment to ensuring online safety, especially for vulnerable groups like children. TikTok's response indicates a willingness to engage with regulators to address concerns and enhance platform safety features.

Current Issue