EU Initiates Formal Investigation into TikTok's Child Safety Measures

The European Union has taken a significant step in scrutinizing the digital practices of major social media platforms with a formal investigation into TikTok.

by Faruk Imamovic
SHARE
EU Initiates Formal Investigation into TikTok's Child Safety Measures
© Getty Images/Dan Kitwood

The European Union has taken a significant step in scrutinizing the digital practices of major social media platforms with a formal investigation into TikTok. This inquiry aims to determine the adequacy of the measures TikTok employs to protect minors on its platform and to investigate other potential breaches of the EU's Digital Services Act.

Protecting Minors in the Digital Age

At the heart of the EU's investigation is the concern over how well TikTok is performing in its duty to protect the privacy and safety of its younger users. The European Commission is set to evaluate TikTok’s compliance with the Digital Services Act's stipulations, particularly those aimed at reducing the risk of content addiction among users and ensuring the safety of minors online.

A point of contention is the effectiveness of TikTok’s age verification tools, which the European Commission suggests “may not be reasonable, proportionate, and effective”. This probe is not limited to child safety measures.

The Commission will also examine TikTok’s transparency regarding advertisements and the extent of access it provides to researchers wishing to analyze its data. These facets are crucial in understanding the platform's influence and operational ethics in the context of EU regulations.

TikTok’s Response and the Digital Services Act

In response to the investigation, a TikTok spokesperson emphasized the platform's commitment to the safety of its young users, noting the implementation of innovative features designed to protect teenagers and prevent those under 13 from accessing the platform.

TikTok expressed its readiness to engage with the European Commission to outline its protective measures in detail. The Digital Services Act, which came into effect in August, sets forth stringent requirements for large tech companies, defined as those with over 45 million monthly users in the EU.

TikTok, with nearly 136 million monthly active users in the bloc, falls squarely within this definition. The Act seeks to uphold online rights and imposes severe penalties for non-compliance, including fines of up to 6% of the offending company's annual global revenue.

This investigation marks the second instance in recent months of the European Commission initiating formal proceedings against a major social media entity, following a similar probe into X for potential failures in combating illegal content and misinformation.

Tiktok European Union European
SHARE