The European Union’s digital policy chief warned TikTok’s boss Thursday that the social media app will have to fall in line with tough new rules for online platforms set to take effect later this year.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton held a video call with Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned video sharing app that’s coming under increasing scrutiny from Western authorities over fears about data privacy, cybersecurity and misinformation.
The two discussed the company’s plans to comply with the bloc’s Digital Services Act, which is set to take effect for the biggest online companies in September. The act is a set of sweeping rules that will require platforms to reduce harmful online content and combat online risks.
“With younger audiences comes greater responsibility,” Breton said, according to a readout of the call. “It is not acceptable that behind seemingly fun and harmless features, it takes users seconds to access harmful and sometimes even life-threatening content.”
Breton added that, with millions of young users in Europe, TikTok has a “special responsibility” to ensure its content is safe.
TikTok is hugely popular with young people but its Chinese ownership has stoked fears that Beijing could use it to scoop up user data or push pro-China narratives or misinformation. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.