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Fears over TikTok Lite’s seductive design prompt the European Union to launch an investigation.

The EU began a second official inquiry against TikTok on Monday, accusing the video sharing platform of violating its Digital Services Act (DSA), an online governance and content management framework.

The Commission stated that it may apply temporary measures to require the business to stop EU access to the TikTok Lite app while it studies mental health hazards. The EU has granted TikTok until April 24 to object, so the app remains available.

The EU is tightening down on dangerous product launches when it can prove a platform did not follow the process.

For DSA infractions, fines may exceed 6% of worldwide turnover. If EU inspectors find TikTok guilty, their parent company, ByeDance, might face heavy fines.

This is the Commission’s second inquiry against TikTok since February, when it announced an ongoing investigation into several DSA compliance issues. X has also been investigated for DSA compliance issues since December.

The EU’s first TikTok examination addresses minors’ protection, advertising transparency, researcher data access, addictive design and hazardous content risk management. It said the current inquiry would concentrate on TikTok Lite, which debuted earlier this month in France and Spain and lets users earn points for viewing or liking videos.

You can trade TikTok Lite points for Amazon gift cards or creator-specific digital money. The Commission worries that “task and reward” might harm young users’ mental health by “stimulating addictive behavior.”.

The EU said that the second examination would examine TikTok’s compliance with the DSA’s risk assessment report requirement before launching the “Task and Reward Lite” program, focusing on mental health issues, especially minors’. It also stated it would investigate TikTok’s risk mitigation efforts.

The EU said in a news statement that ByeDance failed to provide a risk assessment for the functionality it requested last week, despite giving the firm 24 hours.

The DSA’s strictest rule governs TikTok, just like it does for half a dozen other larger sites. This added risk mitigation criterion necessitates that they proactively identify and manage systemic hazards, such as addictive design, that may impair users’ mental health.

ByeDance neglected to complete the risk assessment papers on April 18; therefore, the EU suspects a “prima facie infringement of the DSA” before launching TikTok Lite in the two EU markets.

The rule includes a lower penalty for late information production, as seems to have occurred here. For this type of DSA compliance breach, ByteDance could face fines of up to 1% of its entire yearly revenue or global turnover, and 5% of its average daily income or worldwide annual turnover.

The Commission has yet to decide whether to punish TikTok for late risk assessment document production.

We asked ByteDance about the EU’s new DSA enforcement. It has not responded as of press time. Update: A TikTok spokeswoman stated, “We are disappointed with this decision—the TikTok Lite rewards hub is not available to under 18s and has a daily video watch limit. Discussions with the Commission will continue.”

In its news statement, the EU expresses worry over “the suspected absence of effective age verification mechanisms on TikTok,”  which is the Commission’s first TikTok probe.

In a statement, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton stated that while short, fast-paced videos may be entertaining, they can also lead to addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and low attention spans in children. While our first DSA non-compliance action against TikTok continues, the firm developed TikTok Lite, which pays for more screen time. TikTok ‘Lite’ may be as harmful and addicting as mild cigarettes. We are willing to take temporary DSA actions, including suspending TikTok Lite, which we believe might cause addiction, until TikTok proves its safety. We will spare no effort to defend our children.”

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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