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EU gives TikTok a month to respond to concerns over ‘aggressive’ child-targeted ads

EU gives TikTok a month to respond to concerns over ‘aggressive’ child-targeted ads
TikTok has been given a month to respond to EU regulatory authorities over a string of concerns raised by consumer groups, including claims that kids are being bombarded with ads on the video-sharing app.

The platform, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, must address several areas of concern, the European Commission said on Friday.

These include “hidden marketing, aggressive advertising techniques targeted at children, and certain contractual terms in TikTok’s policies that could be considered misleading and confusing for consumers.”

EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in an accompanying statement that the pandemic had “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,” he added.

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The move comes after TikTok faced allegations of breaching EU consumer law in a complaint filed against the company in February by advocacy group the European Consumer Organisation.

It argued the platform fails to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content, and handled users’ personal data in a misleading way.

TikTok has said it will discuss changes it has made to address the issues raised with the Swedish Consumer Agency and Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which are leading the dialogue on behalf of the EU.

The company’s European director of public policy, Caroline Greer, said TikTok had already “taken a number of steps to protect our younger users, including making all under-16 accounts private by default, and disabling their access to direct messaging.”

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