Italy Fines TikTok €10 Million for Failing to Protect Minors

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Italy’s competition authority imposed a fine of €10 million (approximately $11 million) on TikTok on Thursday, citing the social media platform’s inadequate measures to safeguard minors.

According to the AGCM watchdog, TikTok has not implemented sufficient mechanisms to monitor content on its platform, particularly content that poses risks to the safety of minors and vulnerable individuals.

Furthermore, the watchdog stated that TikTok’s algorithmic profiling system systematically presents potentially harmful content to users, thereby encouraging increased usage of the platform.

The €10 million fine targets three subsidiaries of China’s Bytedance group: TikTok Technology in Ireland, TikTok Information Technologies UK, and TikTok Italy.

The AGCM highlighted TikTok’s failure to fully adhere to the guidelines it had promoted to assure users of the app’s safety. Despite advertising itself as a “safe” space, TikTok’s guidelines do not adequately address the unique vulnerabilities of adolescents, including difficulties in distinguishing reality from fiction and susceptibility to peer influence.

The watchdog expressed concern over TikTok’s recommendation system, which promotes “potentially dangerous” content. It specifically mentioned the “French scar challenge,” where children injure themselves to create bruising, a trend popularized by numerous TikTok tutorials that have raised alarms in education and health sectors.

In response, TikTok stated its disagreement with the watchdog’s decision and provided data indicating a low level of engagement with the “French scar” content in Italy before the AGCM’s investigation announcement last year.

The fine underscores the growing scrutiny of social media platforms’ responsibilities in protecting users, particularly minors, and the need for robust measures to mitigate potential harm caused by online content.

Soukaina Sghir

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