TikTok made several new commitments to its advertising and consumer practices, promising to better protect children from hidden ads and inappropriate content. The platform's new pledges come after a complaint filed in February 2021 from the European Consumer Organisation that alleged TikTok broke EU consumer rules.
The video-sharing app agreed to let users report ads and offers that could "push or trick children into purchasing goods or services"; ban the promotion of inappropriate products or services like "get rich quick" schemes; allow users to switch on a toggle when they publish content with brand-related keywords; review videos from users with more than 10,000 followers to ensure they abide by TikTok's content and community guidelines; and update policies surrounding purchasing products and receiving gifts.
Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said the new commitments will help users understand what ads are being served up to them on the platform and distinguish them from non-paid content. Regulators will continue to monitor TikTok's practices, Reynders said, "paying particular attention to the effects on young users."
"[Consumer Protection Cooperation Network] authorities will, in particular, monitor and assess compliance where concerns remain, such as whether there is sufficient clarity around children's understanding of the commercial aspects of TikTok's practices," the commission wrote in a release. The CPC may also take action on a national level to "ensure that EU standards are respected and to guarantee that all platforms abide by the same rules," the release states.
TikTok's pledges didn't make the EU completely happy. BEUC Deputy Director-General Ursula Pachl said there are still "significant concerns" about TikTok's impact on consumers even a year after talking with the platform. "We welcome that TikTok has committed to improve the transparency of marketing on their platform but the impact of such commitments on consumers remains highly uncertain," Pachl said.