TikTok faces EU probe, potential fines over whether it does enough to protect kids: report

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By Dan Sears

China-owned TikTok reportedly faces a European Union probe in the coming weeks – and the possibility of massive fines – as regulators assess whether it has done enough to protect kids from disturbing videos.

EU regulators are set to investigate whether TikTok is in compliance with the Digital Services Act, a sweeping provision that requires the largest tech companies – including Instagram parent Meta and X – to moderate content, protect user privacy and address risks to the public.

The European Commission’s investigation will focus on whether changes TikTok has made to comply with the DSA’s content moderation policies are sufficient, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.

Under the DSA, tech firms can be fined as much as 6% of their annual revenue for breaking the rules. They can also be banned from Europe entirely for multiple violations.

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TikTok said it has not yet been notified by the European Commission about an investigation. The company said it is in regular contact with EU regulators.

Talks between the two sides are said to be ongoing and EU officials could eventually decide not to open a formal probe.

TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before a Senate panel last month. REUTERS

The Post has reached out to the European Union and TikTok for comment.

A formal investigation would mark yet another regulatory headache for TikTok, which has faced intense scrutiny from US lawmakers for failing to crack down on troubling content that critics say has fueled a wave of anxiety and depression among young Americans.

A recent study by UK researchers found that TikTok’s algorithm was helping “hateful ideologies and misogynistic tropes” to become “normalized” in schools by pushing negative videos about women – such as one titled “how to deal with disrespectful women.”

TikTok CEO Shou Chew has been grilled twice on Capitol Hill over his app’s failure to shield minors – most recently at last month’s hearing over online child sex abuse.

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EU regulators will assess whether TikTok is in compliance with a key law. REUTERS

TikTok has pushed back on the allegations and said it is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of its users.

Aside from content moderation, Chew also faced tough questions from lawmakers over its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, and its ties to the Chinese government.

As The Post reported, Republicans blasted TikTok last November for allowing “terrorist propaganda” after influencers began peddling Osama bin Laden’s post-9/11 “letter to America” on the app.

Weeks earlier, the GOP had renewed its call to ban the app from the US after the allegedly disproportionate popularity of pro-Palestine videos following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew is pictured. AP

In December of last year, X became the first company to face a formal investigation by the EU over potential violations of the DSA. That probe is tied to posts related to Hamas’ attack on Israel.

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With Post wires

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