TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. faces the threat of heavy fines as the European Union prepares an investigation under strict new rules to moderate content over concerns of risks to minors.
The European Commission will open an investigation into TikTok under the bloc’s new Digital Services Act in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said. The investigation stems from concerns that changes the company has made to comply with the new regulations are not enough to protect minor users, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. deliberations.
The DSA gives regulators unprecedented powers to take action against major tech companies over how they manage content on their platforms. Companies face fines of up to 6% of annual sales, or even risk being banned from the EU if they repeatedly break the rules.
EU regulators in December opened their first formal investigation under the DSA into Elon Musk’s X to establish possible violations in the way the platform handles illegal content and disinformation. The bloc selected 19 online platforms and search engines last year as major entities worth checking and asked them for information. That includes X, Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc. and others with more than 45 million monthly active users in Europe. The EU has since added three porn sites as well.
TikTok declined to comment on the matter but said it was in “regular dialogue and has not received anything from the commission regarding an investigation.” A commission representative declined to comment. Discussions are still ongoing and the EU could still decide against a full review.
The EU has sent several requests for information to TikTok since the platform was designated as an important platform. That includes asking what steps are taken to protect minors, especially regarding mental health and physical health risks, and how these services are used by children.
More investigations are likely to be added as the EU has asked all designated companies for more information over the past few months. Similar to TikTok, Meta’s Instagram is also being investigated by the EU on what changes have been made to comply with the new rules and to assess and reduce the risks faced by its minor users.
Photo: Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.
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