ByteDance’s TikTok to Adjust EU User Rights

Regulatory bodies of the European Union said on Tuesday that TikTok, the globally popular short video sharing app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, had agreed to adjust relevant consumer rights of local users in order to avoid sanctions, following complaints by the European Consumer Organization (BEUC).

The BEUC claimed in a 2021 statement that while the popularity of TikTok had grown rapidly worldwide, especially among teenagers, it had failed to fully protect children from hidden ads and inappropriate content.

The company has held discussions with the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network in an attempt to solve these issues. Some adjustments have now been agreed upon: including the introduction of an additional option that allows users to easily report ads that may encourage children to buy goods, or provide services or persuade their parents and others to buy for them; the ban of brand content to publicize inappropriate products and services; clarification of how to receive rewards from the platform and the marking of paid advertisements in videos.

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European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said: “All social media platforms are required to play by the rules and make sure that consumers can easily identify commercial content, including when promoted by influencers.” TikTok said it would continue to improve its functions.

Dozens of employees at TikTok’s London-based division resigned this month amid what has been described as a “culture clash.” TikTok Shop, an e-commerce marketplace tested in the United Kingdom, established its business in October last year. This year, Joshua Ma, an executive of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, said that “he doesn’t think enterprises should provide maternity leave.” This has caused significant dissatisfaction among London employees. Combined with many previous conflicts, British employees believe that the Chinese job requirements introduced in ByteDance do not conform with the apparently looser office-operating habits adhered to by British employees. It is reported that since the establishment of TikTok Shop in the UK, at least 20 people have left their jobs, accounting for about half of the total.