EU threatens to ban TikTok Lite from using rewarded viewing feature

  • The European Union has launched an investigation into TikTok’s spin-off app, Lite, over concerns for children’s safety, and has threatened to suspend an “addictive” feature of the app.
  • The European Commission said in a statement that it was concerned that the app “could seriously damage the mental health of users, including minors”.
  • TikTok said it will continue discussions with the commission and said the rewards programme does not apply to minors.

The European Commission said on Monday that it could suspend TikTok Lite’s rewards programme on Thursday if TikTok fails to address concerns about its potentially addictive effects on children.

TikTok Lite’s reward programme  

TikTok Lite is a smaller version of the popular TikTok app that takes up less memory on your smartphone and can run on slower internet connections.

TikTok Lite launched in France and Spain in March allowing users aged 18 and more to earn points that can be exchanged for goods like vouchers or gift cards through the app’s rewards programme.

According to Thierry Breton, the EU industry chief said in a statement on Monday, “Unless TikTok provides compelling proof of its safety, which it has failed to do until now, we stand ready to trigger DSA interim measures including the suspension of TikTok Lite feature which we suspect could generate addiction.”

Also read: Italy regulator fines TikTok US$11 million for ‘French scar challenge’

Also read: 72% of Americans oppose the bill to ban TikTok

TikTok’s response

TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has until Wednesday to present a formal defence against such a measure.

Brussels is applying the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) which requires leading online platforms to do more to tackle harmful and illegal content or face fines of up to 6% of global annual turnover.

TikTok expressed disappointment with the Commission’s decision.

TikTok said it would continue discussions with the commission and said the rewards programme was not available to minors.

Jennifer-Yu

Jennifer Yu

Jennifer Yu is an junior reporter at BTW Media covering artificial intelligence and products. She graduated from The University of Hong Kong. Send tips to j.yu@btw.media.

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