Tiktok in the sights of EU consumer protectors

The popular short video app Tiktok is coming under fire from European consumer advocates. The European association Beuc filed a complaint about the video portal with the EU Commission and the network of national consumer protection authorities on Tuesday.


"Tiktok is failing its users by violating their rights en masse," said Director General Monique Goyens. "Children love Tiktok, but the company is failing to protect them."

Specifically, the consumer advocates complain that children and young people are not sufficiently protected from hidden advertising and potentially harmful content. The approach to processing personal data is also misleading.

Several clauses in the terms of use were unfair. Beuc said on Tuesday that it expected the authorities to fully investigate and take action against Tiktok's practices. In addition, the national authorities would be urged to take action.

According to Tiktok's terms of use, you must be at least 13 years old to use Tiktok. Users under 18 officially need the consent of a parent or guardian, but this is not actually obtained by the application's operators.


TikTok responds to allegations

The short video app is responding to the complaints, saying it is constantly working to improve security. "Keeping our community safe, especially our younger users, and complying with the laws of the countries in which we operate is a responsibility we take incredibly seriously," a spokeswoman said. "That's why we've taken a number of important steps, including setting all accounts of users under 16 to private by default."

In addition, TikTok has developed an in-app summary of its privacy policy with vocabulary to make it easier for teenagers to understand the app's approach to privacy. According to the spokesperson, TikTok has contacted BEUC and welcomes a meeting with the association to hear the concerns. (SDA/pd/swi)

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