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The EU launches an investigation against TikTok Lite

Available in Spain and France, this simplified version raised the concern of the European Commission about offering financial remuneration for viewing content.

Imagen de la sede de TikTok en Los Ángeles, California

(Cordon Press)

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The European Union announced this Monday that it was investigating TikTok Lite. The simplified version of the social network, available only in Spain and France, raised the concern of the European Commission about offering financial remuneration for viewing content.

This program, explains CNBC, gives Amazon and PayPal checks to users simply for viewing exclusive videos, for following certain content creators or for inviting other users to use TikTok Lite.

This, said the Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, in a press release, meant that this new function could "be as toxic and addictive as cigarettes 'light'":

Endless streams of short and fast-paced videos could be seen as fun, but also expose our children to risks of addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, low attention spans… With our first DSA non-compliance case against TikTok still ongoing, the company has launched TikTok Lite which financially rewards extra screen time. We suspect TikTok “Lite” could be as toxic and addictive as cigarettes “light”. Unless TikTok provides compelling proof of its safety, which it has failed to do until now, we stand ready to trigger DSA interim measures including the suspension of TikTok Lite feature which we suspect could generate addiction. We will spare no effort to protect our children.

1% of its total annual income, the fine that TikTok faces

For this reason, the EU explained, they decided to open an investigation this Monday to determine if the new application, which takes up less space on smartphones and works with a slower Internet connection, was released without the Commission to carry out "a prior and diligent evaluation of the risks involved, particularly those related to the addictive effect of the platforms."

To this end, the Commission warned the platform owned by ByteDance that it should present a risk assessment report on TikTok Lite later this Tuesday. Otherwise, they could impose fines on the social network that could reach 1% of its total annual revenue.

Along with this, the European Union also gave the application a period of more than two weeks, until May 3, to respond to questions posed to them about the measures that the social network could use to mitigate "systemic risks" from its Lite version.

The platform was quick to respond and assure that they were "disappointed" after learning of this new investigation. A TikTok spokesperson assured AFP that "the TikTok Lite rewards program is not accessible to those under 18 years of age and includes a daily limit for video viewing." In addition, he added, the company would continue "dialogue" with the Commission on this matter.