European Union initiates investigation into TikTok amid child safety concerns | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The European Commission has initiated a formal inquiry into TikTok concerning various concerns, which include safeguarding minors and addressing addictive design. The investigation aims to determine whether TikTok is adhering to its responsibilities regarding the evaluation and mitigation of systemic risks under the Digital Services Act. Specifically, it will examine whether the company’s algorithms contribute to behavioral addictions or create what is commonly referred to as ‘rabbit hole effects.’

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Evaluating risk mitigation

Furthermore, the Commission will evaluate the effectiveness of TikTok’s measures to mitigate these risks, including the adequacy of the age verification tools employed to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate content. It will assess whether these tools are reasonable, proportionate, and successful in their purpose.

In addition, the Commission will scrutinize whether TikTok has implemented appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure a high level of privacy, safety, and security for minors, as required. Particular attention will be given to the default privacy settings for minors in relation to the recommender systems.

Emphasis on protecting minors online

Thierry Breton, commissioner for internal market, underscored the significance of protecting minors online and stated, “The protection of minors is a top enforcement priority for the Digital Services Act. As a platform that reaches millions of children and teenagers, TikTok must fully comply with the DSA and has a particular role to play in the protection of minors online.” He further added as reported by Reuters, “We are launching this formal infringement proceeding today to ensure that proportionate action is taken to protect the physical and emotional well-being of young Europeans.”

Enhancing platform transparency

Moreover, the investigation will assess whether TikTok fulfills its DSA obligations to provide a searchable and reliable repository for advertisements on its platform. Finally, it will examine the steps taken by the company to enhance platform transparency, considering that TikTok has faced scrutiny regarding limited access to its publicly available data for researchers.

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