TikTok Violates User Rights on ‘Massive Scale,’ EU Consumers Say


TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, is breaching users’ rights “on a massive scale,” European consumer campaign group BEUC warned on Tuesday after firing off complaints to regulators.

TiKTok’s “unfair” copyright policy and virtual coins should be probed, Brussels-based BEUC urged in a statement on Tuesday. It also escalated previous warnings that the app fails to protect children and teenagers from harmful content or hidden advertising.

“In just a few years, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps with millions of users across Europe,” said Monique Goyens, BEUC’s director general. “But TikTok is letting its users down by breaching their rights.” Goyens said BEUC has filed a complaint with the European Commission and national consumer-protection authorities.

ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok is already being probed by EU data authorities over how it handles children’s personal information. Separately ByteDance is discussing potential security concerns over data sharing with the U.S. following former president Donald Trump’s attempt to ban the Chinese app last year.

TikTok’s copyright terms are unfair in giving the company an irrevocable right to use videos without payment, BEUC said. The group also criticizes how TikTok sells coins for virtual gifts where the company has “an absolute right to modify the exchange rate between the coins and the gifts, potentially skewing the financial transaction in its own favor.

TikTok said in an email that it’s asked BEUC for a meeting to listen to its concerns.

“Keeping our community safe, especially our younger users, and complying with the laws where we operate are responsibilities we take incredibly seriously,” TikTok said. “We have taken a range of major steps, including making all accounts belonging to users under 16 private by default. We’ve also developed an in-app summary of our privacy policy with vocabulary and a tone of voice that makes it easier for teens to understand our approach to privacy.”

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