EU initiates probe into TikTok under DSA for content violations, child safety concerns

If found guilty of breaching online content rules, TikTok might face a penalty of up to 6% of its global turnover
A representational image displaying TikToks logo on a mobile screen. — Unsplash

A representational image displaying TikTok's logo on a mobile screen. — Unsplash

The European Union (EU) has announced to initiate an official investigation into TikTok to find if the short-form video platform committed any noncompliance to the online content regulations set forth under the bloc's Digital Services Act (DSA).

The decision was taken after a thorough assessment of the app's risk assessment report and its response to requests for information, said EU industry chief Thierry Breton.

"Today we open an investigation into TikTok over suspected breach of transparency & obligations to protect minors: addictive design & screen time limits, rabbit hole effect, age verification, default privacy settings," Breton said on X.

Read more: TikTok rolls out update to enhance bigger-screen users' experience

DSA probe into TikTok comes as the second after X, Elon Musk-owned social media platform which was formerly known as Twitter, came under fire by EU in December last year.

DSA, new rules of EU, was implemented across the bloc on February 17 for all tech firms dealing with online content. The regulations primarily requires tech and search engine giants to ensure the curtailment of illicit and inappropriate online content and public safety.

If found guilty of breaching online content rules, the China-based ByteDance might face a penalty of up to 6% of its global turnover. Meanwhile, the platform said it would collaborate with industry experts to ensure the safety of its young audience.

"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.

The European Commission said the probe will mainly oversee the design of TikTok's system, including algorithms which may boost behavioural addictions and/or create so-called 'rabbit hole effects'.

Moreover, further areas of focus of the investigation will see if the platform undertakes appropriate measures to ensure utmost privacy, safety and security of young users.