August 5, 2023 08:15 AM NPT
BRUSSELS, Aug 4: Video-sharing platform TikTok announced Friday changes to meet strict EU rules including allowing European users to turn off the addictive feature that shows content based on their interests. Under the new rules, internet giants will be forced to take stronger action on data privacy, child protection, disinformation and hate speech.
The web's 19 biggest players including TikTok as well as Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft, have until August 28 to comply, otherwise they face hefty fines. The European commissioner overseeing the digital market, Thierry Breton, warned TikTok last month to accelerate its adoption of the new standards.
Heeding that warning, TikTok said it would allow users in Europe "to turn off personalisation", referring to the "For You" feed that keeps people watching videos with recommended content based on their personal interests.
European users can instead get popular videos from the places where they live and around the world, TikTok said in a statement. Thanks to its editing features and an AI-powered algorithm, TikTok is popular, especially with younger audiences, and has over a billion users. It has, however, come under fierce Western scrutiny over its ties to China.
Its owner, ByteDance, is Chinese, but the company denies it is under Beijing's tutelage. TikTok said other measures to ensure compliance with the EU's Digital Services Act include making it easier for European users to report illegal content and banning targeted advertising for users in Europe aged 13 to 17.
It added it would also be more transparent about its content moderation decisions, giving users more information about why a video has been taken down. "We will continue to not only meet our regulatory obligations, but also strive to set new standards through innovative solutions," TikTok said.