(CTN News) – In an announcement on Thursday, the EU announced it was investigating YouTube and TikTok to determine what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of minors on these platforms.
According to the European Commission, it has sent formal requests for information to TikTok and YouTube, the first step in the digital content law procedure.
Specifically, the European Commission wants to know what measures have been taken by video-sharing platforms to ensure compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA), in particular regarding the risks to the mental and physical well-being of children.
Among other things, the DSA is one of the most powerful tools that the European Union uses to bring Big Tech to heel, and it demands that the digital giants take greater steps to prevent the spreading of illegal and harmful content as well as disinformation.
If a platform violates the rules, fines can reach as much as 6 percent of its global turnover.
YouTube is part of the Alphabet digital empire, which includes Google, and TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is particularly popular with young users.
The deadline for both companies to respond is November 30.
Thierry Breton, the EU’s top tech enforcer, stated in August that the DSA would prioritize child protection as one of its enforcement priorities.
Minors aged 17 and under are also prohibited from receiving targeted advertising under the law.
Following the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel, the EU has already launched investigations into TikTok, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook-owned Meta Platforms on the issue of disinformation.
Chew Shou Zi, TikTok’s CEO, met EU officials earlier this week in Brussels, in “positive” discussions, the company’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
“We are pleased that our efforts to keep people safe on TikTok, engage with these important topics, and comply with the DSA have not been ignored.
“We will continue to collaborate closely with the Commission, including on this latest request,” the spokesperson stated.
In addition, the DSA has called for tech giants to do more in order to counter the spread of illegal goods.
As part of its DSA compliance, the commission has initiated an investigation into China’s AliExpress over what steps the company is taking to protect consumers online from illegal products, including fake medicines.
In August, the EU introduced the DSA for 19 sites that are considered “very large” platforms with more than 45 million monthly active users, including Google Search, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Amazon, and Apple’s App Store.
As of February next year, when the national supervisory authorities of the EU member states will have been established, smaller digital firms will be required to comply with the DSA.
According to the DSA’s sister law, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), TikTok and YouTube are also among 22 services facing stricter restrictions on how they do business. The DMA must be fully implemented by March 2024 in order for companies to remain compliant.