TikTok slapped with fines for not adequately protecting minors. So, what’s the plan to remediate and compensate all the victims?

Euroconsumers calls out tech giant.

TikTok was recently fined 10 million euros by the Competition Authority in Italy, home to Euroconsumers’ member Altroconsumo, for inadequately protecting its users, in particular children and adolescents. On top of failing to diligently apply their own guidelines, this highlights TikTok’s failure to implement sufficient risk mitigation measures to protect minors as mandated by the Digital Services Act (DSA) for Very Large Online Platforms.

The ruling on March 5, 2024 was straightforward, leaving no room for doubt:
• in the dissemination of content, particularly concerning the “French scar” challenge, TikTok is likely to endanger the psycho-physical safety of users, especially minors and vulnerable individuals.
• TikTok has taken inadequate measures to prevent the dissemination of such content
• The content – although potentially dangerous – is disseminated through a ‘recommendation system’ based on algorithmic user profiling, aimed at increasing user interactions and time spent on the platform to boost advertising revenue. This leads to undue conditioning of users who are stimulated to use the platform more frequently
Italian Competition Authority: TikTok sanctioned for an unfair commercial practice

The “French scar” challenge, as recent concrete example, has posed significant threats to the psycho-physical well-being of users, particularly children and adolescents. TikTok has failed to implement adequate measures to prevent their dissemination, which is deeply concerning and harmful to consumers every day. At the same time, these are the same consumers whose data are used to extract economic value for TikTok.
As platform topping a whopping 134 million (and counting) monthly active users in the European Union alone, TikTok wields a considerable power, and with power comes responsibility. Euroconsumers calls out TikTok to assume its responsibility and:

  1. Compensate the consumers who were harmed.
  2. Take immediate measures to prevent the propagation of content posing threat to psychological and physical well-being TikTok users, particularly minors.
  3. Enhance targeted measures to protect the rights of the minors, as required by Article 35 of the DSA and apply them with due diligence for the unique susceptibility of adolescents.
  4. Launch educational activities fostering conscious and safe use of the platform

Read our full letter and demands to the company here.