The Consumers’ Association, together with other European consumer organizations, has filed a complaint against the Chinese video app TikTok. The app is said to mislead users and provide children with insufficient protection against inappropriate content and advertisements. According to the organizations, regulators should act against this.
The app that allows you to create and share short videos would violate consumer rights. For example, the organizations do not agree that TikTok reuses, distributes and reproduces users’ videos without compensation. They have filed a complaint with the European Commission.
For example, children are abused as billboards, says Gerard Spierenburg of the Consumers’ Association NOS Radio 1 News. “Popular influencers challenge young people to create content around specific products. It is not clear to the users, often children, that this serves a commercial purpose, intended to advertise.”
It is also unclear exactly what data is collected and how it is processed, according to consumer associations. The Dutch Data Protection Authority already started an investigation into the privacy of Dutch children at TikTok last year.
NOS op 3 found out how much data TikTok collects from users:
In addition, TikTok does not protect children and teenagers from hidden ads and potentially harmful content in videos. “It contains videos of a dubious nature, from which you want to protect children,” says Spierenburg. Although the age limit is 13 years, he says much younger children also use the app.
Consumer organizations want the European Commission and regulators to act. Organizations from Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece and Norway are participating in the campaign.
The app has gained popularity in recent years, especially among teenagers. 1.7 million Dutch people use TikTok; in the US there are more than 100 million.
Regulator Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) says it takes the signal from consumer organizations seriously.
TikTok has not yet responded to the steps this morning.