TikTok facing bans on both sides of the Atlantic

24/04/2024 | The Guardian

The European Union is preparing to ban TikTok's new service in Europe unless the company provides "compelling" evidence showing safeguards are in place to protect children. The EU believes that TikTok Lite, which rewards users for watching video clips, could be as addictive as cigarettes. If the ban goes ahead, it would be the first time the EU has used its new powers to impose sanctions on social media companies since the Digital Services Act (DSA) came into force last August. Despite an investigation under the DSA being launched in February, the new TikTok Lite app was launched in France and Spain this month. The EU has given TikTok until Wednesday to provide a satisfactory response to regulators' concerns about the impact of the reward feature on users' mental health.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, The New York Times (£) reports that the US House of Representatives has voted 360 in favour to 58 against fast-tracking a bill that would force TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to find a US government-approved buyer for TikTok within 12 months or face a nationwide ban. Responding to the news, The Guardian revealed that TikTok says it will fight a US ban or forced sale if the bill passes.

In an update on Wednesday, The Guardian reports Thierry Breton said that TikTok had written to confirm that it would suspend the service. Breton said: “Our children are not guinea pigs for social media. The DSA ensures the safety of our EU online space.”

Meanwhile, following a successful vote in the US Senate, President Biden signed legislation on foreign aid, which includes a provision banning TikTok in the country should Chinese owner ByteDance not divest the social media platform. Despite the move by the US government, a report in Politico says European lawmakers have shown no indication that the EU will follow suit. 

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