Italy's competition authority has fined TikTok €10 million for scarce checks on content

Communication Author: EqualOcean News, Sun Chang Mar 15, 2024 01:15 PM (GMT+8)

On March 14, Italy's competition authority (AGCM) issued a penalty decision on TikTok, saying that TikTok failed to take effective regulatory measures to monitor content posted on the platform, especially content that harmed minors and vulnerable users of TikTok. Therefore, a total of 10 million euros ($10.94 million) in fines will be imposed on TikTok Ireland, TikTok UK, and TikTok Italy.


AGCM said in a statement that TikTok failed to regulate the content published on its platform through appropriate mechanisms. And, these contents are systematically re-recommended through algorithmic analysis, thereby stimulating a substantial increase in the use of (these contents) on social networks. TikTok has not taken adequate measures to prevent the spreading of such content, and has not fully complied with the guidelines it has adopted, reassuring customers that the platform is a "safe" space.

One example of this harmful content mentioned by AGCM is the so-called "French scar" video popular among young people, which features young people pinching their cheeks so hard to leave a lasting bruise on the cheekbone. This behavior has caused unease among many parents, educators and health departments. But in response, TikTok responded, "We disagree with this decision. The so-called 'French scar' content averaged just 100 daily searches in Italy prior to the AGCM’s announcement last year, and we long ago restricted visibility of this content to (under-18s)."

TikTok has been the focus of European regulators for some time and has faced fines totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission, which oversees TikTok's activities across the EU, ordered TikTok to pay a fine of 345 million euros ($376 million) last September for failing to protect children. Because the agency found that newly created child profiles on the platform were set to public by default, meaning anyone on the internet could view them. Last month, the European Union also launched a formal investigation into TikTok to determine whether it was doing enough to protect minors. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives also overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring ByteDance to sell TikTok, otherwise it will face a nationwide ban.

Recently, ByteDance is not the only Chinese Internet company facing crackdowns from regulatory authorities around the world. Alibaba Group's AliExpress also came under scrutiny from the European Commission on Thursday.