TikTok ends up in BEUC's sights in Europe

TikTok ends up in BEUC's sights in Europe

The European organization BEUC which fights for consumer protection announces today that it has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission, together with the authorities and organizations of 15 member states active on the same front, pointing the finger at the work of TikTok. For our country, the press release mentions the involvement of Altroconsumo and CIE (Italian Consumers for Europe). Several accusations have been made against the social network managed by the Chinese giant ByteDance, some of which are not unpublished.

BEUC: two reports and a complaint for TikTok

We are talking about terms of service not considered in line with the regulations in force in the old continent or in any case unclear towards those who are called to accept them as well as a system that subjects even the youngest users to content that is potentially unsuitable for their age. This is a delicate point for the platform, which has already been the subject of a warning from the Italian Privacy Guarantor to which the top management of TikTok responded with the promise of introducing a verification system based on the use of artificial intelligence.

TikTok's already on the radar of several ūüá™ūüáļ authorities regarding its data processing practices. Our research #TikTokWithoutFilters provides further evidence that the platform gives misleading information to users about what personal data is collected. https://t.co/YlTSAI9gvL pic.twitter.com/kjW2JePRgF

- The Consumer Voice (@beuc) February 16, 2021

On the occasion BEUC has published two reports on the subject: one entitled "TikTok without filters" and the other "Confusing by design". Below is an extract translated from the first.

In France 45% of children under 13 claiming to use the app. In the UK, a 2020 study conducted by OFCOM revealed that 50% of minors between the ages of 8 and 15 upload videos to TikTok at least once a week. In the Czech Republic, a 2019 research found that TikTok is very popular with children aged 11 or 12. In Norway, according to an article, 32% of those aged 10-11 used TikTok in 2019.

There are also privacy issues with reference to practices potentially in violation of the provisions of the GDPR for the collection and processing of data in Europe. Also raise concerns about the in-app virtual currency used to purchase gifts to send to other users. In this case, the rules defined are unclear and not very transparent.

The reply of TikTok was not long in coming and was entrusted by a spokesperson of the company to the editorial staff of the TechCrunch site. We report it in translated form below.

Keeping our community safe, especially younger users, in accordance with the laws in force where we operate, are responsibilities that we take incredibly seriously. We work hard every day to protect our community and that is why we have implemented several important initiatives such as making all the accounts of users under 16 private. We have also developed an in-app summary for our Privacy Policy with a vocabulary and style that make it easier for young people to understand our approach to privacy. We are always open to advice on how to improve and have contacted BEUC, interested in a meeting to hear their concerns.

Source: BEUC

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