European Commission launches formal proceedings against TikTok under Digital Services Act News
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European Commission launches formal proceedings against TikTok under Digital Services Act

The European Commission opened formal proceedings against TikTok on Monday for potential breaches of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a European regulation created to protect online services users.

The European Commission opened the proceedings after it conducted preliminary investigations based on a risk assessment report delivered by TikTok in September 2023 in addition to the latter’s reply to the Commission’s prior requests for information regarding the measures it has taken to comply with European legislation. The proceedings target the Chinese platform’s obligations under the DSA, to protect minors, implement a repository for its advertisements that is “searchable and reliable,” and improve its transparency policy by allowing researchers to have access to data.

The Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, declared that TikTok has a significant role to play in the protection of minors online. TikTok reaches millions of children all over the world, and the tools implemented so far, namely age verification tools that prevent children’s access to inappropriate content and risk management of addictive design or harmful content, are ineffective. The Commissioner asserts that official measures are needed to ensure that “proportionate action is taken to protect the physical and emotional well-being of young Europeans.”

The European Commissioner for Competition and Executive Vice-President for Europe Fit for the Digital Age added that TikTok “should carefully consider the risks they pose to their users, young as well as old.”

After the opening of the formal proceedings, the EU’s executive will conduct an in-depth investigation and pursue evidence gathering. It can send additional requests for information or conduct inspections and interviews. The EU’s executive arm can even take more serious enforcement measures, such as non-compliance decisions, but it is also empowered to accept any action taken by TikTok to correct or improve its conduct. If violations of the DSA are proven, TikTok will have to pay a fine of 6 percent of its global turnover.

This is the second time the European Commission has opened proceedings against a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) under the DSA. The first time was in December 2023, when the European Commission opened formal proceedings against Elon Musk’s platform X for disseminating illegal content in the EU, in addition to questioning the effectiveness of its measures to increase transparency and combat misinformation.