Under fire TikTok pledges to follow EU rules

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 17 2023 02:23 PM

Close-up shows the video-sharing application 'TikTok' on a smart phone in Berlin, Germany, July 7, 2020. Hayoung Jeon, EPA-EFE/File
Close-up shows the video-sharing application 'TikTok' on a smart phone in Berlin, Germany, July 7, 2020. Hayoung Jeon, EPA-EFE/File

PARIS - Social media platform TikTok, famed for bite-size videos of pranks and dances, said Friday it was working hard to comply with EU rules after the bloc's leaders demanded greater efforts from the firm.

TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is Chinese, is already facing calls for a ban in the US over its links with Beijing, and is now under fierce scrutiny in the European Union.

The bloc's top officials recently accused the platform of failing to deal with problems related to data, copyright and access to harmful content.

TikTok said in a statement that it had bolstered its staff working on compliance, and promised to host the data of European users in Ireland.

The EU is pushing through a suite of regulations to rein in big tech's power.

Among the new laws is the Digital Services Act (DSA), due to come into force in September, which obliges platforms to remove illegal or harmful content or face massive fines and even a total ban.

"With younger audiences comes greater responsibility," EU commissioner Thierry Breton told TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew in a call last month, according to a readout released by the EU.

"It is not acceptable that behind seemingly fun and harmless features, it takes users seconds to access harmful and sometimes even life-threatening content."

The firm, which said it has more than 5,000 staff in Europe, promised to continue taking down harmful content and disinformation, and openly report any actions.

TikTok admitted last year that some staff in China could access the data of European users.

It was later forced to confirm that ByteDance staff had accessed TikTok data to track journalists in a bid to identify a source of leaks to the media.

The company denies the Chinese government has any control or access.

But US officials have banned the app from federal government devices, and some lawmakers want to ban the platform entirely.