EU Begins TikTok Probe Over Child Protection Concerns

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The European Union (EU) says it has commenced an investigation into TikTok, the social network app, over suspected breaches of rules on child protection and advertising transparency.

In an X post on Monday, Thierry Breton, EU commissioner, said the probe would look into TikTok’s possible addictive design and screen time limits and whether it is creating a rabbit hole effect.

Breton listed other areas of concern as age verification and default privacy settings.

“Enforcing #DSA for safer Internet for youngsters,” he added.

The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into effect for very large online platforms and search engines on August 25, 2023.

The law was created to lay down special obligations for online marketplaces to combat the sale of illegal products and services and to introduce measures to counter illegal content online.

According to the EU, the law was also made to protects minors online, impose certain limits on the presentation of advertising and on the use of sensitive personal data for targeted advertising, including gender, race and religion and to ban “dark patterns” and practices aimed at misleading.

On Saturday, the law became applicable to all online platforms.

TikTok is particularly popular among young people and if the app has been found to have breached the DSA’s risk mitigation rules, it could face fines as high as six percent of its global annual revenue.

Last year, X was the subject of the DSA’s investigation over suspected breaches of obligations.