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Since August 2023, large online platform companies must comply with new European rules laid down in the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA provides, among others, rules on the protection of minors, advertising transparency, access to data, app design and risk management of harmful content. Based on the DSA, TikTok must provide a safe online environment for children, protect their privacy and act against harmful content. 

On 19 February 2024, the European Commission announced the launch of a formal investigation to verify whether TikTok complies with the DSA. There are doubts about this, since TikTok is known, among other things, for the so-called ‘rabbithole effect’. As a result, users are shown increasingly extreme content by malicious algorithms. These same algorithms can be very addictive. The European Commission will also investigate the app’s design, such as default privacy settings for minors. It is not yet known how long the investigation will take.

TBYP is pleased to see an increasing number of investigations into (privacy) violations by TikTok. As a result, TikTok’s infringing behaviour is becoming more widely known and recognised. An investigation by the European Commission may increase pressure on TikTok to adjust its behaviour. Earlier, the Irish Data Protection Commission also imposed a €345 million fine on TikTok for privacy violations.

For more information, see: 

European Commission launches investigation into TikTok for protecting children

Commission leads formal proceedings against TikTok under Digital Services Act