TikTok suspends its user rewards program after EU investigation

The Chinese platform would have to pay up to 1% of its annual income as a penalty.

(AFP / VOZ MEDIA) Digital video platform TikTok announced Wednesday that it is suspending a program launched in France and Spain that included rewards for users, which resulted in an E.U. investigation for suspicions of causing addiction.

In a message on X, TikTok announced, "We are therefore voluntarily suspending the rewards functions in TikTok Lite while we address the concerns that [regulators] have raised."

"TikTok always seeks to engage constructively with the EU Commission and other regulators," the message noted.

Last week, the European Commission had demanded explanations from TikTok about this program, due to suspicions of causing "addictive behavior," and subsequently threatened to suspend the plan due to evidence of having been launched without having first presented a risk assessment plan.

"Our children are not guinea pigs for social media," reacted European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, who is in charge of monitoring the operations of large digital platforms in the E.U.

"Our cases against TikTok on the risk of addictiveness of the platform continue, including the investigation to establish whether the launch of TikTok Lite was done in compliance with the DSA," he added.

TikTok Lite is a simplified version of the popular video app, which takes up less memory on a smartphone and is designed to work with slower internet connections.

This new TikTok plan includes a "Rewards Program" which awards points to users who complete tasks such as watching complete videos, liking videos, following content creators and inviting their contacts to join the platform.

These points can later be exchanged for vouchers for purchases on Amazon and PayPal.

According to Breton, the E.U. suspects "that this feature could be addictive and that TikTok did not conduct a diligent risk assessment or take effective mitigation measures before its launch."