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The EU officially opens up an investigation into TikTok

Does TikTok do enough to protect children? The EU will decide.
The EU officially opens up an investigation into TikTok Credit: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. isn't the only place that has problems with TikTok.

In a Monday press release, the European Commission (the EU's executive branch) announced a formal probe into TikTok's compliance (or lack thereof) with the Digital Services Act. The act, which was approved late last year and went into effect on Jan. 1, exists to legislate against things like illegal content, disinformation, and targeted advertising.

The press release includes a handy bullet-point list of things the EU is looking into, such as TikTok's potential use of algorithmic systems to encourage addictive behavior, or what it calls a "rabbit hole effect." In other words, they're worried about if TikTok does too much to force you to keep looking at it. Other points of concern include privacy and safety for minors, advertising transparency, and proper age verification for users.

The investigation will dive into whether TikTok is effectively protecting children, highlighting age verification as a potentially insufficient safeguard.

If TikTok is found to be in violation of any DSA policies, it may have to fork over as much as 6 percent of its annual turnover, per TechCrunch. In a statement given to TechCrunch, TikTok said it will cooperate with the investigation, claiming it has already responded to previous European Commission requests and even put forward plans for its child safety people to meet with EU officials. According to TikTok, these moves have not been met with response from the Commission.

That's heavy stuff for an app that's mostly people doing viral dances.

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