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EU/Global: European Commission's investigation into TikTok over failing to protect children welcomed

© Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In response to the European Commission’s decision to investigate TikTok over concerns that the online social media platform may be failing to comply with the bloc's Digital Services Act by not doing enough to protect young users, Damini Satija, Amnesty International's Tech Director, said:

“We welcome the European Commission’s decision to investigate TikTok over the possibility that it breached the Digital Services Act by failing to protect children and young people. The mental health consequences being inflicted on children and young people by the social media giant remain a longstanding concern.

“TikTok can draw children's accounts into dangerous rabbit holes of content that romanticises self-harm and suicide within an hour of signing up on the platform.

“By design, TikTok aims to maximise engagement, which systemically undermines children's rights. It is essential that TikTok takes urgent action to address these systemic risks.                                         

“Children and young users should be offered the right to access safe platforms, and the protection of these rights cannot wait any longer.”

Amnesty’s research on Tik Tok

In 2023, Amnesty released two reports highlighting abuses suffered by children and young people using TikTok.

One report - Driven into the darkness: How TikTok encourages self-harm and suicidal ideation - shows how TikTok’s pursuit of young users’ attention risks exacerbating their mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Another report – “I feel exposed: caught in TikTok’s surveillance web - reveals TikTok’s rights-abusing data collection practices are sustained by harmful user engagement practices.

Both reports form part of a body of our work exposing the business models of big tech firms that prioritise profits over human rights.

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