TIkTok Lite EU Suspension Looms As Commission Reviews App’s Addictive Features

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TikTok app.

The European Union has initiated a second formal investigation into TikTok, focusing on its newly launched TikTok Lite app rewards program. This program has raised concerns over potential addictive effects on users. The European Commission has given TikTok 24 hours to submit a comprehensive risk assessment report or face possible fines.

TikTok Lite, introduced earlier this month in France and Spain, features a “Task and Reward Program.” How to use TikTok Lite: It compensates users for engaging with the platform, such as watching videos, liking it, or inviting friends to try the app. According to a report, this program is particularly under scrutiny for its potential to foster addictive behaviors, especially among minors. Despite claims from TikTok that the program is restricted to users aged 18 and older, the EU has criticized the app for not having effective age verification processes.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, emphasized the responsibility of online platforms under the Digital Services Act to identify and mitigate user risks. “The Commission has opened a compliance case that urges TikTok to submit an assessment and provide more information on how it is protecting its users from potential risks on their platform,” Vestager stated.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton likened the addictive potential of TikTok Lite to that of light cigarettes, underscoring the serious concerns about the program’s impact on mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and reduced attention spans in children. “Endless streams of short and fast-paced videos could be seen as fun, but also expose our children to risks of addiction,” Breton explained.

This probe marks the continuation of the EU’s stringent oversight of TikTok’s operations within its jurisdiction. The first case against TikTok, still ongoing, involves issues related to the protection of minors, advertising transparency, and the management of content that could be harmful or addictive.

The outcome of this investigation of TikTok Lite in Europe could lead to significant operational changes for the company in the region, especially under the terms of the Digital Services Act, which requires large platforms to comply with strict regulations aimed at combating illegal and harmful online content. The EU has made it clear that it stands ready to impose interim measures, including potentially suspending features of TikTok Lite, unless the company can demonstrate its safety and compliance.

For the past few weeks, TikTok has been under numerous scrutiny and challenges, with the US government hot on its heels trying to persuade the company to sell and turn its back on Chinese ties.

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