TikTok responds to EU concerns, suspends rewards in Lite app

The TikTok Lite, designed for slow internet regions, launched last month in Spain and France, has ‘voluntarily’ suspended the Lite app.

TikTok mobile phone

TikTok has suspended its rewards functions in TikTok Lite, a new app catering to regions with slower internet speeds. This decision follows concerns raised by the European Commission regarding the app’s ‘Task and Reward Program,’ which incentivises user engagement with rewards like Amazon vouchers and PayPal gift cards. Particularly, worries over potential addictive effects, especially for children, due to inadequate age verification mechanisms have been highlighted by the EU executive.

In response to the Commission’s apprehensions, TikTok stated its commitment to engaging constructively with regulators and suspended the rewards functions. However, Commissioner Thierry Breton emphasised that concerns regarding TikTok’s platform addictiveness persist, along with an ongoing investigation to determine TikTok Lite’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA, which came into force recently, imposes regulations on how online platforms handle illegal and harmful content, with TikTok falling under its jurisdiction as a very large online platform (VLOP).

Under the DSA, TikTok was required to conduct and submit a risk assessment before launching the Lite app. However, the Commission’s proceedings revealed TikTok’s initial failure to meet this requirement. Despite missing the initial deadline, TikTok eventually submitted the risk assessment, indicating compliance with the Commission’s demands. France’s digital minister and MEPs have welcomed TikTok’s suspension decision, signalling a positive response from the EU authorities regarding the company’s efforts to address regulatory concerns.