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TikTok will be investigated in the EU for not complying with legislation

The European Union (EU) has opened an investigation into TikTok’s possible violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA). The economic bloc wants to identify whether the social network has failed to comply with articles related to the protection of minors, ad transparency, data access to researchers, addictive design and harmful content. The DSA aims to increase the transparency of social networks and combat the misuse of the platforms.

In the press release, the EU explains that, based on the preliminary investigation and reports submitted by TikTok, it will focus the next steps of the process on four points:

Negative effects of TikTok’s design, interface, and algorithm, which can spur addictive behaviors
Carrying out DSA requirements to provide enhanced security and privacy for minors.
Section for checking the history of ads on the platform
Evaluation of measures to increase transparency on the platform, which includes facilitating data access for researchers.

If the European Union’s investigation proves that TikTok failed to comply with the legislation, the social network could be punished up to 6% of its global revenue, taking into account the amount presented at the end of a fiscal year.

In 2023, the Chinese platform had a revenue of US$ 10 billion (R$ 49.6 billion). In other words, a fine for DAS violations could cost TikTok $6 billion — or R$29.8 billion.

One of the goals of the DSA is to combat social media strategies to addict users. For example, the infinite scroll design and highly accurate algorithms in recommending content. To solve this problem, TikTok has launched a feed that uses geolocation in place of the algorithm.

In the case of measures to protect young people who use the platform, the European Union will focus on investigating whether TikTok has made some settings the default choice for minors.

The DSA requires that some social network options be automatically chosen for this audience. Instagram, the Chinese social network’s main rival, meets this norm by shutting down young people’s accounts and preventing strangers from sending DMs. By automatically restricting some features of minors’ profiles, social networks create an extra layer of protection for this audience.

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