EU concern over TikTok Lite app that rewards users

The European Commission has raised concerns over TikTok’s new feature, TikTok Lite, which rewards users for watching videos on the platform.

The Commission has given TikTok a 24-hour deadline to provide a risk assessment of the new service amidst worries that it could exacerbate addiction among children.

TikTok Lite, recently launched in France and Spain, offers users rewards such as Amazon vouchers, PayPal gift cards, or TikTok Coins in exchange for completing tasks like watching videos, liking content, following creators, or inviting friends to join the platform.

The Commission’s intervention follows the implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA), which mandates tech companies and social media platforms to adhere to new regulations regarding user services and the removal of illegal content. In February, the Commission initiated a formal investigation into TikTok’s compliance with the DSA, focusing on potential breaches related to the protection of minors, advertising transparency, addictive design, and harmful content. Concerns about age verification, highlighted by previous investigations, are also being addressed.

The Commission’s request for a risk assessment underscores worries about the impact of TikTok Lite on minors’ protection and users’ mental health, particularly regarding the potential for addictive behavior. This concern aligns with previous warnings from the US surgeon general about the profound risks social media poses to children and adolescents’ mental well-being.

Why is this important?

TikTok has faced regulatory scrutiny before, with the EU imposing a €350 million fine for privacy breaches related to the processing of children’s personal data. In response to the Commission’s request, TikTok has stated that it is committed to providing the necessary information.

The company asserts that rewards are only available to users over 18 who have verified their age, with daily payments capped at €1. As the deadline for the risk assessment approaches, TikTok must also furnish additional information by April 26.

The Commission retains the authority to impose fines for any inaccuracies or omissions in TikTok’s responses. Thus, TikTok finds itself under increasing regulatory pressure as it navigates concerns over its new service’s impact on users, particularly minors, in the European market.

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