Antitrust fines TikTok 10m over protection of minors

Italy’s Antitrust Authority has fined video-sharing social media app TikTok 10 million euro for failing to adequately protect minors from potentially harmful content, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The controls by the company on the content circulating on the platform are inadequate, particularly in relation to content that may threaten the safety of minors and vulnerable individuals,” said the watchdog.

In addition, “this content is systematically re-proposed to users following their algorithmic profiling, stimulating ever-greater use of the social network,” it added.

The fine has been levied against three companies belonging to the Chinese-owned group Bytedance, the owner of TikTok: the Irish TikTok Technology Limited, the British TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited and the Italian TikTok Italy Srl.

It comes after the antitrust authority in February ordered TikTok to remove some videos showing young people performing the so-called ‘French scar’ challenge involving pinching the cheek to leave a lasting bruise on the cheekbone and opened a probe.

The watchdog said on Thursday that the investigation has made it possible to ascertain TikTok’s responsibility in the dissemination of content such as that relating to the ‘French scar’ challenge that could threaten the psycho-physical safety of users, especially minors and vulnerable people.

Moreover, it alleged that the social media platform did not take adequate measures to prevent the dissemination of such content, failing to comply with its own published guidelines.