TikTok 'Stress Test' Shows App Doesn’t Comply With New EU Rules
The popular music video app owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd. is among the large internet platforms that have to abide by a long list of moderation rules or face hefty fines or outright bans from EU countries.
TikTok isn't yet fully compliant with upcoming European Union rules governing content, according to the results of a test conducted by the bloc's governing body.
European Union Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton and his team carried out the so-called “stress test” at TikTok's Dublin offices on Monday, according to a statement from the official, who determined that more work is needed to be fully ready for EU Digital Services Act's compliance deadline on Aug. 25.
“Recent events have shown the impact and effects that TikTok has in people's lives and democracies,” Breton said. TikTok counts more than a quarter of Europe's population as users, Breton said, and most of them are teenagers. “If its systems fail, the magnitude of the consequences can be dramatic.”
The popular music video app owned by China's ByteDance Ltd. is among the large internet platforms that have to abide by a long list of moderation rules or face hefty fines or outright bans from EU countries. The test covered areas including child protection, TikTok's content recommendation system and moderation, illegal content online, data access and transparency. Breton applauded TikTok's voluntary agreement to undergo the test and the resources it's committing to compliance — a slight change in tone from earlier discussions.
After a video call with TikTok's chief executive officer in January, Breton said it's “not acceptable” that users of the platform can access “harmful and sometimes even life-threatening content” within seconds. Breton told Shou Zi Chew that TikTok will be among the commission's first targets for scrutiny under the DSA, Bloomberg reported.
TikTok, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide, continues to face potential bans in its major markets. In addition to the scrutiny in the EU, US lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that could block the app, and the Federal government still has an outstanding security review on its data privacy practices. In the EU and the US, the company has established plans to wall off data on local servers and enlist domestic partners to oversee its data access controls.
Breton said it's now “time to accelerate to be fully compliant. As of the end of August, we will be assessing whether real, tangible changes have materialized on the grounds.”