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Social networks: European consumers attack TikTok and its “hateful” practice

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The French association UFC-Que Choisir affirms that the Chinese application “gives itself the right to do what it wants with the videos published” on its platform.

TikTok in the crosshairs of consumers. The European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions (BEUC), which brings together several consumer associations, announced Tuesday, February 16 the filing of a complaint against the social network TikTok, accused of exploiting the rights and data of users, often very young . The European Commission will be seized to launch an investigation into the practices of this very popular video-sharing application, said the French association UFC-Que Choisir in a press release.

These consumer associations, including the UFC-Que Choisir, believe that the social network “does not succeed” in protecting young people and cite shortcomings in the protection against hidden advertising and “potentially dangerous” content. Especially since the platform accepts registrations from 13 years old; however, 45% of children under this age claimed to use the application in France, according to UFC-Que Choisir.

“Over-exploited” personal data

In its press release, the French association also denounces “the deceptive system” of “virtual gifts” aimed at rewarding the favorite videos of Internet users. TikTok “makes every effort to ensure that the user forgets that it is real money,” says UFC-Que Choisir, calling these practices “detestable”. The association also believes that user data is “overexploited”, “contrary to the obligations of the RGPD”, the regulation which guarantees users certain rights over their data.

“Very concretely, TikTok gives itself the right to do what it wants with the videos published: use them, modify them, reproduce them without users having a say.”

This is not the first time that the application has been singled out. TikTok had restricted the privacy settings of its users aged 13 to 15 in mid-January a few days after observers accused its algorithm of promoting access to sexualized videos featuring minors. The Italian authorities had for their part blocked access to the network at the end of January to users whose age is not guaranteed, after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Sicily who participated in the “headscarf game” on the network social.

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