Italian watchdog fines TikTok €10 million over content checks


Social media giant TikTok was fined 10 million euros by an Italian competition watchdog for inadequate checks on content potentially harmful to young or vulnerable users.

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

“We disagree with this decision,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement on the antitrust fine, adding that the platform had “long ago restricted visibility” of French Scar videos for under-18s.

Last month, Italy’s communications authority AGCOM – a separate regulator – forced TikTok to remove the videos.

On Thursday, the antitrust authority said the potentially dangerous videos had also been spread through profiling algorithms.

The watchdog said 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."

The social media platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance is under pressure from regulators around the globe to protect underage users.

Under the terms of a draft bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last Wednesday, the social media app faces a ban in the United States, where it has about 170 million users unless its Chinese owners sell within about six months.

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