The EU may suspend TikTok’s money-for-views feature

The EU may suspend TikTok’s money-for-views feature

The European Commission could suspend TikTok Lite’s reward program, which pays users for spending time on the app, as soon as Thursday.

Commissioner Thierry Breton said the feature was “toxic and addictive”, especially when used by children.

TikTok has until Wednesday to defend the rewards program, or it could be suspended as early as Thursday April 25.

TikTok told the BBC it was disappointed by the decision.

“We are ready to trigger… temporary measures including the suspension of the TikTok Lite reward program,” European Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

In addition, the Commission has opened formal proceedings against the social media company to assess whether it has breached EU law.

Under EU law that came into effect last year, big platforms like TikTok have to produce risk assessments before they make major changes to their products.

The commission requested TikTok’s risk assessment into its Duty & Rewards program last week, but said the social media company failed to submit it on time.

It has said that the system risks “serious damage to users’ mental health”.

TikTok Lite
TikTok launched its “Tasks and Rewards” program last week in France and Spain.

It’s a new feature on TikTok Lite, a scaled-down version of the main social media app, which uses less data and space on users’ phones.

Under the program, users can earn the equivalent of a few pence per day for watching videos and engaging in apps.

The Commission is investigating whether this could have a negative impact on the mental health of users, including children, “especially as a result of new features that stimulate addictive behaviour”.

TikTok says the rewards are only open to people aged 18 and over, and a tool is in place to verify their age.

But the Commission suspects a “lack of an effective age verification mechanism”.

TikTok has no plans to launch the feature outside of France and Spain as it stands. It is also available in several countries in Southeast Asia.

This is the second official investigation into TikTok launched in the EU.

In February, the Commission opened official proceedings against the social media company, investigating whether it violated rules around data protection, protection for children and monitoring harmful content.

At the time, TikTok said it would cooperate with the investigation and continue to work with experts in online security.

Under the EU’s Digital Services Act, companies can be fined up to 6% of global revenue.

In a statement released to the BBC, a TikTok spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by this decision – the TikTok Lite rewards hub is not available to under-18s, and there is a daily limit on video viewing tasks. We will continue discussions with the Commission.”

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