The EU officially opens up an investigation into TikTok

The U.S. isn’t the only place that has problems with TikTok.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, has initiated a formal investigation into TikTok’s adherence to the Digital Services Act, a legislative measure aimed at addressing issues such as illegal content, disinformation, and targeted advertising. Approved late last year and implemented on Jan. 1, the Act seeks to regulate online platforms to ensure user safety and data protection.

The press release accompanying the announcement outlines several areas of concern that the EU intends to explore regarding TikTok’s practices. Of particular interest is TikTok’s alleged use of algorithmic systems that may promote addictive behavior, a phenomenon termed the “rabbit hole effect.” Essentially, the EU is apprehensive about whether TikTok employs tactics to prolong user engagement excessively. Additionally, the investigation will scrutinize TikTok’s efforts to safeguard the privacy and safety of minors, ensure advertising transparency, and enforce adequate age verification measures for users.

One key aspect under scrutiny is TikTok’s efficacy in protecting children, with a focus on the adequacy of its age verification protocols. The Commission aims to ascertain whether TikTok’s current measures are sufficient in preventing underage users from accessing potentially harmful content.

Should TikTok be found in violation of any Digital Services Act policies, it could face significant penalties, potentially amounting to 6 percent of its annual turnover, as reported by TechCrunch. In response to inquiries from TechCrunch, TikTok has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the investigation. The company claims to have already responded to previous requests from the European Commission and has proposed meetings between its child safety representatives and EU officials. Despite these efforts, TikTok asserts that it has yet to receive a response from the Commission.

In summary, the European Commission’s investigation into TikTok’s compliance with the Digital Services Act reflects growing concerns regarding online platform regulation and user protection. As the inquiry delves into various aspects of TikTok’s operations, including its treatment of minors and adherence to advertising standards, the outcome could have significant implications for the platform’s future operations in the EU.