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TikTok meets EU deadline over reward-to-watch feature

April 23, 2024

The European Commission is investigating the impact of TikTok Lite's rewards program on users' mental health.

TikTok logo
The European Commission has critized TikTok's failure to provide a risk assessment report on its new TikTok Lite versionImage: Mario Tama/Getty Images

TikTok on Tuesday submitted a risk assessment report on its TikTok Lite rewards programme, meeting a 24-hour deadline by the Europen Commission.

The Commission on Monday ordered the video-sharing platform to provide the information after it failed to do so earlier in the month.

"We can confirm that we received a reply from TikTok," a European Commission spokesman said.

The EU executive will now "assess the response and decide on potential next steps."

Concerns over TikTok Lite in Spain and France

TikTok Lite, a slimmed down version of TikTok, launched in France and Spain. It is optimized for slower internet connections and uses less memory.

It also also rewards adult users who spend time on the app with points that can be redeemed for vouchers or gift cards.

The Commission wanted to know how the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform assessed the addictiveness and mental health risks of the rewards scheme, particularly for children, before it was launched.

Impact on mental health investigated

In addition, the Commission has launched against the social media company to assess whether it has broken the EU's Digital Services Act.

The DSA requires large platforms to assess and mitigate "potential systemic risks." 

"With an endless stream of short and fast-paced videos, TikTok offers fun and a sense of connection beyond your immediate circle," said European Commissioner Thierry Breton, said.

"But it also comes with considerable risks, especially for our children: addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, low attention spans."

In a statement, the social media company said TikTok Lite's rewards scheme is not available to minors, and has a daily limit on the number of videos that can be watched for a reward.

"We are disappointed with this decision - the TikTok Lite rewards hub is not available to under 18s, and there is a daily limit on video watch tasks. We will continue discussions with the commission," the statement said. 

If it is concluded that TikTok fell short of its risk-assessment and risk-mitigation obligations under the DSA, the commission could fine the company 6% of its global annual revenue.

km/lo (dpa/Reuters)