EU challenges TikTok over consumer rights breaches claim

Brussels: The European Commission said on Friday it has given one month to the Chinese-owned video app TikTok to answer complaints from an European consumers group over its commercial practices.

The EU’s executive arm said it has started discussions involving the platform and the national consumer authorities following an alert launched earlier this year by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) about alleged breaches of consumers’ rights.

The Commission said some contractual terms in TikTok’s policies could be considered misleading and confusing for consumers, adding that concerns relating to issues including hidden marketing and advertising strategies targeting children were raised.

In February, the BEUC filed a complaint with the European Commission and the network of consumer protection authorities against TikTok. It argued that several terms in TikTok’s Terms of Service’ are unfair and said the platform, which is particularly popular with youngsters, failed to protect children and teenagers from hidden advertising and potentially harmful content.

The current pandemic has further accelerated digitalisation,” said Didier Reynders, the Commissioner for Justice.

This has brought new opportunities but it has also created new risks, in particular for vulnerable consumers. In the European Union, it is prohibited to target children and minors with disguised advertising such as banners in videos. The dialogue we are launching today should support TikTok in complying with EU rules to protect consumers.