TikTok could be investigated over app ads targeting children

Anne Freer | February 18, 2021

App Business

TikTok has received a row of complaints from the European Union in regards to its failure to protect children from ads and harmful content, unfair terms and misleading data processing declarations.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) officially filed the complaint with the European Commission. Consumer organisations in 15 countries in the EU have already urged authorities to look into TikTok more closely.

The allegations state that the app is failing to protect its younger users from disguised advertising and potentially upsetting and harmful content.

Influencer marketing is a popular strategy on the app and this is being criticised.

At the same time, terms of service of the app are being called unclear and ambiguous because the app reproduces user content without reimbursing them.

TikTok calls it ‘Virtual Item Policy’, but the BEUC says that its terms and practices are not clear enough.

“In just a few years, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps with millions of users across Europe. But TikTok is letting its users down by breaching their rights on a massive scale. We have discovered a whole series of consumer rights infringements and therefore filed a complaint against TikTok,” said Monique Goyens, Director General of the BEUC.

“Children love TikTok but the company fails to keep them protected. We do not want our youngest ones to be exposed to pervasive hidden advertising and unknowingly turned into billboards when they are just trying to have fun.

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