TikTok Removes Potentially Addictive Features in EU Following European Commission Action

TikTok removes addictive feature in EU TikTok Lite app
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TikTok removes addictive feature in EU TikTok Lite app
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Photo Credit: Igor Omilaev

TikTok has quietly suspended a ‘task and reward’ feature in its TikTok Lite app for the EU following the European Commission opening an investigation. Here’s the latest.

The investigation is the European Union’s second formal inquiry into the app, this time investigating whether the platform violates the Digital Services Act. “The Commission is concerned that the ‘Task and Reward Program’ of TikTok Lite, which allows users to earn points while performing tasks on TikTok—has been launched without prior diligent assessment of the risk it entails,” the official action reads. “In particular, those risks related to the addictive effect of the platform, without taking effective risk mitigating measures.”

TikTok’s failure to perform a risk assessment in relation to child safety and mental health for the feature is what prompted the action. Violations of the Digital Services Act carry penalties of up to 6% of a company’s global annual turnover. Rather than potentially be subjected to that fine, TikTok has decided to announce the ‘voluntary’ suspension of the feature.

“TikTok always seeks to engage constructively with the EU Commission and other regulators,” a statement posted on X/Twitter reads. “We are therefore voluntarily suspending the rewards functions in TikTok Lite while we address the concerns that they have raised.”

The EU’s Market Commissioner Thierry Breton commented, “Our children are not guinea pigs for social media. I take note of TikTok’s decision to suspend the TikTok Lite ‘reward program’ in the EU. The case against TikTok on the risk of addictiveness of the platform continue. The Digital Services Act ensures the safety of our online space.”

While the voluntary suspension of this feature may stop this particular investigation, TikTok is facing another DSA probe announced in February 2024. That probe will determine whether TikTok employed addictive design features, or is non-compliant in areas of child protection, ads transparency, and data access for researchers.