EU investigates TikTok over possible content breaches

The European Union said it will investigate whether TikTok breached EU online content rules aimed at protecting children and ensuring transparent advertising.

The move means TikTok could face a large fine.

The European Commission said it has opened formal proceedings to assess whether TikTok may have breached the Digital Services Act (DSA) “in areas linked to the protection of minors, advertising transparency, data access for researchers, as well as the risk management of addictive design and harmful content.”

The Commission said that “on the basis of the preliminary investigation conducted so far, including on the basis of an analysis of the risk assessment report sent by TikTok in September 2023, as well as TikTok’s replies to the Commission’s formal Requests for Information (on illegal content, protection of minors, and data access), the Commission has decided to open formal proceedings against TikTok under the Digital Services Act.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “The protection of minors is a top enforcement priority for the DSA.

“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.

“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. We must spare no effort to protect our children.”

TikTok’s owner, China-based ByteDance, could face fines of up to 6% of its global turnover if TikTok is found guilty of breaching DSA rules.

TikTok said it would continue to work with experts and the industry to keep young people on its platform safe and that it looked forward to explaining this work in detail to the European Commission.

“TikTok has pioneered features and settings to protect teens and keep under 13s off the platform, issues the whole industry is grappling with,” a TikTok spokesperson said.