Consumer advocates submit a complaint about TikTok to the EU Commission

The BEUC, an umbrella organization for 44 consumer protection organizations from 32 different countries, has submitted a formal complaint about TikTok to the EU Commission . Brief note: The German Consumer Association (vzbv) also belongs to the BEUC. So one accuses TikTok of violating several consumer rights.



In addition to complaining to the EU Commission, individual consumer protection organizations in 15 countries have also alerted the national authorities there and asked them to investigate. There are several allegations. For example, children would not be adequately protected from hidden advertisements and inappropriate content. In addition, many points in the terms of use are not legally compliant. They are designed to be as diffuse and meaningful as possible and offer TikTok inappropriate rights towards users. The provisions on usage rights would also put users at a disadvantage, as TikTok assures itself the right to continue to use all content uploaded on the platform at will.


Dealing with the virtual coins that users can buy to reward content creators is also unfair. Because TikTok reserves the right to adjust the “exchange rates”, so to speak, at any time, i.e. the content that you get for the coins bought with real money. In addition, TikTok does not deal transparently with advertising. Users are encouraged to take part in hashtag challenges that are sponsored by brands and are intended to lead to the purchase of selected products. Often those challenges are started by influencers who would be paid for them. However, this is not transparent for users.




TikTok also does not inform users clearly enough about what is happening with their collected data. It is not clear for what purpose user data is collected and what exactly is done with it. Here TikTok could possibly violate the General Data Protection Regulation. According to BEUC, this has already been reported to the responsible data protection officers. Overall, it is important that TikTok adhere to the laws that apply in the EU. It is therefore hoped that the EU Commission will take further steps soon.



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