TikTok had a month to respond to multiple complaints from European Union (EU) consumer groups that it violated the block’s consumer laws and also failed to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content. .
Owned by Chinese ByteDance, the short video app has grown rapidly around the world, especially among teenagers. However, a number of incidents have raised concerns about its privacy and security policies.
The European Commission said on Friday it had launched a formal dialogue with TikTok and national consumer groups to review the company’s trade practices and policy. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said further digitization brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has created new risks, especially for vulnerable consumers. “In the European Union, it is prohibited to target children and minors with disguised advertisements such as banners in videos,” he said in a statement.
TikTok has said it will discuss the recently introduced measures with the Irish Consumer Protection Commission and the Swedish Consumer Agency. The two bodies lead the discussions. “We have taken a number of steps to protect our young users, including making all accounts under the age of 16 private by default and disabling their access to direct messaging,” the company said in a statement.
“Additionally, users under the age of 18 cannot purchase, send or receive virtual gifts, and we have strict policies prohibiting advertising that directly appeals to people under the age of digital consent.”