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EU opens probe of TikTok Lite, citing concerns about addictive design | Prime Time News24


The European Union has opened a second formal investigation into TikTok, asserting Monday that it suspects the video sharing platform of breaking the bloc’s Digital Companies Act (DSA), a web-based governance and content material moderation framework.

The Fee additionally stated it’s minded to impose interim measures that might power the corporate to droop entry to the TikTok Lite app within the EU whereas it investigates considerations the app poses psychological well being dangers to customers. Though the EU has given TikTok till April 24 to argue in opposition to the measure — that means the app stays accessible for now.

The event reveals the EU cracking down on a product launch it deems dangerous the place it could present a platform has not adopted anticipated process.

Penalties for confirmed violations of the DSA can attain as much as 6% of world annual turnover. So ByteDance, TikTok’s guardian, may face hefty fines if EU enforcers do find yourself deciding it has damaged the legislation.

Whereas the Fee hasn’t but confirmed any breaches of the DSA that is the second probe it’s opened on TikTok after asserting an (ongoing) investigation into a number of elements of its DSA compliance again in February. Since December X has additionally been below investigation over a variety of DSA compliance considerations.

The EU’s first TikTok probe covers a number of points together with the safety of minors, promoting transparency, knowledge entry for researchers and the danger administration of addictive design and dangerous content material. Therefore it stated the most recent investigation will particularly concentrate on TikTok Lite, a model of the video sharing platform which launched earlier this month in France and Spain and features a mechanism that enables customers to earn factors for doing issues like watching or liking movies.

Factors earned by TikTok Lite could be exchanged for issues like Amazon reward vouchers or TikTok’s personal digital forex for gifting to creators. The Fee is frightened this so-called “activity and reward” characteristic may negatively affect the psychological well being of younger customers by “stimulating addictive habits”.

The EU wrote that the second probe will concentrate on TikTok’s compliance with the DSA obligation to conduct and submit a threat evaluation report previous to the launch of the “Process and Reward Lite” program, with a specific concentrate on unfavourable results on psychological well being, together with minors’ psychological well being. It additionally stated it’ll look into measures taken by TikTok to mitigate these dangers.

In a press launch asserting the motion, the EU stated ByteDance failed to supply a threat evaluation concerning the characteristic which it had requested to see final week — when it gave the corporate 24 hours to supply the doc.

TikTok is regulated below the strictest regime of the DSA, which applies to round half a dozen bigger platforms. This additional layer of threat mitigation necessities obliges them to proactively establish and mitigate systemic dangers — similar to addictive design that might hurt customers’ psychological well being.

The EU’s suspicion is ByteDance failed to do that earlier than going forward and launching TikTok Lite within the two EU markets: Because it did not submit the danger evaluation paperwork on April 18 the Fee wrote that it suspects a “prima facie infringement of the DSA”.

The regulation bakes in a regime of smaller fines for failures to supply requested info on time, as seems to have occurred right here. ByteDance may subsequently face a penalty of as much as 1% of its complete annual revenue or worldwide turnover and periodic penalties as much as 5% of common every day revenue or worldwide annual turnover particularly for any such DSA compliance failure.

Though the Fee has not confirmed whether or not it plans to fantastic TikTok for failing to supply the danger evaluation doc on time as but.

ByteDance was contacted for a response to the EU’s newest DSA enforcement. However as of press time it had not responded. Replace: A TikTok spokesperson stated: “We’re dissatisfied with this determination — the TikTok Lite rewards hub isn’t accessible to below 18s, and there’s a every day restrict on video watch duties. We are going to proceed discussions with the Fee.”

It’s price noting the EU’s press launch raises particular considerations about “the suspected absence of efficient age verification mechanisms on TikTok”, which is an space the Fee’s first TikTok investigation is trying into.

Commenting on the Fee’s enforcement motion in a press release, Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the EU Inner Market, wrote: “Countless streams of quick and fast-paced movies might be seen as enjoyable, but in addition expose our youngsters to dangers of dependancy, anxiousness, melancholy, consuming problems, low consideration spans… With our first DSA non-compliance case in opposition to TikTok nonetheless ongoing, the corporate has launched TikTok Lite which financially rewards additional display time. We suspect TikTok ‘Lite’ might be as poisonous and addictive as cigarettes ‘gentle’. Except TikTok supplies compelling proof of its security, which it has did not do till now, we stand able to set off DSA interim measures together with the suspension of TikTok Lite characteristic which we suspect may generate dependancy. We are going to spare no effort to guard our youngsters.”

This report was up to date with remark from TikTok; and to verify the platform’s strategy to age verification is being investigated by the EU.

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