Italy regulator fines TikTok $11M over harmful content | Inquirer Technology

Italy regulator fines TikTok $11M over harmful content

/ 05:54 AM March 15, 2024

ROME—Italy’s antitrust regulator AGCM said on Thursday it has fined three TikTok units 10 million euros ($10.94 million) in total for not adequately checking content on its platform which could be harmful for young or vulnerable users.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and other social media companies, including Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms, are under pressure from regulators around the globe to protect underage users.

“TikTok has not taken adequate measures to prevent the spreading of such content, and has not fully complied with the guidelines it has adopted, reassuring customers that the platform is a ‘safe’ space,” AGCM said in a statement.


‘French scar’

It added that certain content by TikTok, specifically so-called challenges, could put at risk minors or vulnerable people.


The Italian regulator referred to videos showing young people performing a dangerous practice known as the “French scar,” a challenge popular among users which involves pinching cheeks to leave a lasting bruise on the cheekbone.

Last month Italy’s communications authority Authority for Communications (Agcom)—a separate regulator—had forced TikTok to remove the videos.


Agcom said that the content, though potentially dangerous, is also spread through profiling algorithms “and this can cause undue conditioning of users who are encouraged to use the platform more and more.”

TikTok was not immediately available for comment.

In the United States, where it has about 170 million users, the social media app faces a ban unless its Chinese owners sell within about six months, under the terms of a draft bill passed by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday. 

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