EU Tech Policeman Warns TikTok Over “Illegal Content and Disinformation

EU Tech Policeman Warns TikTok Over “Illegal Content and Disinformation

EU Commissioner’s Warning to TikTok

In the wake of the recent brutal Hamas attack in Israel, Commissioner Thierry Breton, the top tech regulator for the European Union, issued a stern warning to TikTok regarding “illegal content and disinformation” on its platform.

This alert mirrors similar notifications sent to Twitter (formerly X) and Facebook parent company Meta earlier in the week.

Commissioner Breton called for an urgent response from TikTok, requesting information on its efforts to combat online misinformation within 24 hours.

Protecting Children and Combating Violent Content

Commissioner Breton emphasized TikTok’s particular responsibility in safeguarding children and teenagers who use its platform.

He pointed out the presence of violent content, including depictions of hostage-taking and graphic videos, circulating on TikTok without sufficient safeguards.

Given the platform’s popularity among younger users, TikTok faces a unique obligation to protect them from such content.

EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA)

The EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), which recently came into effect, places substantial obligations on large online platforms like TikTok.

Under this legislation, these platforms must take action against content prohibited by EU law or the laws of specific EU member states.

Violations of the DSA can result in fines of up to 6% of a company’s global revenue, mandatory corrective actions, or even potential bans from operating in European markets.

Urgent Request for Compliance

Commissioner Breton stressed the urgency of the request to TikTok, urging a response within the next 24 hours, a timeframe consistent with his letters to other tech giants, including X owner Elon Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The full text of his letter was posted on Commissioner Breton’s accounts on Twitter (X) and his recently created account on the Bluesky platform.

Rising Misinformation After Hamas Attack

In the aftermath of the Hamas attack in Israel, reports of misinformation and disinformation have been on the rise.

Prominent online verification and investigative site Bellingcat identified numerous false or deceptive videos posted on platforms like TikTok, Twitter (X), and others.

It is noteworthy that misinformation has also been found on Telegram, a social media platform currently exempt from the DSA but set to be included in February when it encompasses smaller platforms.

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