The European Digital Commissioner, Thierry Breton, on Monday called on the boss of the Chinese social network TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, to continue his efforts against disinformation while welcoming positive developments, during a videoconference interview. In October, the European Commission opened investigations targeting TikTok, but also “illegal content”, after Hamas attacks against Israel.
New, stricter obligations have applied in Europe for 19 very large platforms, including TikTok, since the end of August as part of new digital services legislation (DSA). “We have seen changes on the TikTok platform in recent months, with the implementation of new features aimed at protecting users and investments in content moderation and security,” said Thierry Breton, in a press release broadcast after a discussion Monday between the two officials.
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The European Commission is currently examining “whether these measures are sufficient to ensure compliance with the DSA. Because today more than ever, we must spare no effort to protect our fellow citizens – in particular children and adolescents – against illicit content and disinformation,” he continued. “Good meeting with Commissioner Thierry Breton this morning,” said TikTok’s vice-president in charge of public policies for Europe, Theo Bertram. “We are encouraged that our efforts have not gone unnoticed. We continue to work closely with the Commission on compliance with the DSA,” he declared on X (formerly Twitter).
TikTok, owned by the Chinese group ByteDance, announced that it had removed four million videos deemed illegal or harmful in the EU on its own initiative in September, in a report published at the end of October. The platform claims to have a workforce of 6,125 people dedicated to content moderation in the European Union alone, out of a total of 40,000 people responsible for protecting its users worldwide.
Shou Zi Chew is due to meet the European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, and her Competition counterpart, Didier Reynders, in Brussels on Tuesday. In addition to consumer protection, they must also discuss the transfer of personal data and the new EU rules against anti-competitive practices which will apply from March 2024.