Italian Regulator Fines TikTok Around $11 Million


Italian officials have imposed a hefty fine of $10.9 million on TikTok for its role in circulating videos that could endanger the well-being of users. The fine, announced by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), follows a year-long investigation into the platform’s practices.

Interestingly, this penalty coincided with a decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to essentially prohibit TikTok unless it separates from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Italian Regulator Slams TikTok for Harming Minors

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has expressed concerns about how TikTok’s platform negatively affects minors and vulnerable populations. This scrutiny arose partly due to a viral challenge on the app known as the “French scar” challenge. This challenge prompted users to share videos of facial scarring, leading to instances where individuals harmed their skin to participate.

According to AGCM, TikTok has not implemented sufficient measures to prevent the spread of such content, despite promoting itself as a “safe” space for users. The authority highlighted that the platform’s guidelines are inadequate and not fully aligned with the needs of adolescents and vulnerable users. AGCM emphasized that these guidelines are applied without adequately considering the unique cognitive processes of adolescents, such as difficulty discerning reality from fiction and a tendency to emulate group behavior.

Italian Authority Condemns TikTok’s Tactics

The Italian authority expressed concern over TikTok’s recommendation system, citing its reliance on “algorithmic user profiling.” According to the regulator, this profiling targets users with content aimed at boosting engagement and driving ad revenue, potentially leading to undue influence on user behavior and increased platform usage.

Furthermore, the European Commission has initiated an investigation into TikTok’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA). The probe aims to determine whether TikTok violates the DSA by failing to verify users’ ages, safeguard their privacy, and prevent addiction to the app, the release said. Additionally, the investigation focuses on allegations of nontransparent advertising practices and inadequate protection of minors.

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The commission highlighted TikTok’s algorithms’ potential to create “rabbit hole effects” for users, drawing them into extended usage sessions. Moreover, the regulator is examining TikTok’s approach to identifying and addressing systemic risks and mitigating actual or anticipated negative impacts on users.

Important: Please note that this article is only meant to provide information and should not be taken as legal, tax, investment, financial, or any other type of advice.


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