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 Protection of minors: the EU opens an investigation targeting TikTok and YouTube

Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press The European executive is particularly concerned about the impact of certain videos available on TikTok or YouTube on the “mental and physical health” of young people.

Brussels opened an investigation on Thursday into the measures taken by the social network TikTok and the video sharing site YouTube to protect children, continuing a tightening of the screws against the major platforms that began in October.

The European executive is particularly concerned about the impact of certain videos on the “mental and physical health” of young people. He wishes to verify the procedures to ensure that the content broadcast is adapted to the age of the minors concerned.

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The European Digital Commissioner, Thierry Breton, is working to ensure that very large platforms comply with the new obligations imposed on them since the entry into force at the end of August of the new EU legislation on digital services (DSA ).

“The protection of children will be a priority,” he had already warned.

The European Commission announced in a press release that it had asked TikTok and YouTube “to provide more information on the measures they have taken to comply with their obligations regarding the protection of minors.”

These requests do not currently constitute a challenge.

But this is a first step in procedures which can lead to heavy financial sanctions in the event of proven and prolonged infringements of the regulations. In extreme cases, fines can reach 6% of the global turnover of the groups involved.

“TikTok and YouTube must provide the requested information to the Commission no later than November 30, 2023. Based on the evaluation of the responses, the Commission will determine the next steps,” it said.

“Positive discussions”

Contacted Thursday by AFP, a TikTok spokesperson stressed that the group's boss had had “positive discussions” this week with the European Commission.

“We are pleased that our efforts to maintain user security […] and comply with the DSA are not going unnoticed. We will continue to work closely with the Commission, including on this latest request,” he added.

The boss of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, was visiting Brussels on Tuesday where he met the Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Values ​​and Transparency, Vera Jourova, and the Commissioner for Justice and Competition, Didier Reynders .

Thierry Breton welcomed positive developments within the Chinese social network and called on it to continue its efforts.

“We have seen changes to the TikTok platform over the past few months, with the implementation of new features aimed at protecting users and investments in content moderation and security,” he said Monday after a discussion with Shou Zi Chew by videoconference.

Brussels had already announced in October investigations targeting the social networks TikTok (owned by the Chinese group ByteDance), X (formerly Twitter) and Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) to demand details on the measures implemented against the dissemination of “false information”, images and violent comments, after the Hamas attacks against Israel.

Also requested by the AFP, YouTube did not wish to react immediately.

The European executive also opened an investigation on Monday targeting the Chinese online sales site AliExpress concerning the alleged distribution of illegal products, in particular fake medicines.

Since the end of August, the DSA has imposed stricter rules on 19 very large Internet players.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116