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‘Regulators in the Netherlands must now intervene at TikTok’

The fact that TikTok makes the hearts of many young social media fans beat faster, is evident from the great popularity of the app. But it also indirectly stops hearts from beating, and that should of course really not be allowed, say regulators. And it is also a kind of playground for child predators. Time for action.

Dutch and European regulators now have to intervene with the video app TikTok to guarantee the safety of users. That is the view of the Research Market Information Foundation (SOMI). For example, the age check of TikTok of 13 years would be easy to circumvent. Child predators are also said to look for victims via the social medium.

TikTok

The Chinese app is extremely popular with young people. “A recent study by research agency Multiscope shows that use in the Netherlands is highest among 12-year-olds at 64 percent,” says Cor Wijtvliet, co-founder of SOMI. Children under the age of 16 require parental consent for an account.

‘Blackout challenge’

The Italian privacy watchdog has urged TikTok to ban all users whose age it cannot verify. That decision followed the death of a 10-year-old Italian girl who used the app a lot. According to her parents, she died after participating in a ‘blackout challenge’. In addition, people let themselves be suffocated for as long as possible while filming themselves. “Besides the many dangerous challenges, TikTok is a paradise for predators,” said SOMI. “We are waiting for a serious incident here in the Netherlands.”

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Response TikTok

TikTok says in a response it does a lot to ensure the safety of young users. For example, accounts of users between 13 and 15 years old would be set to private by default and strangers cannot automatically see their videos. Moderators also ban inappropriate videos and users can report offensive material, the company defends the criticism. “At TikTok, the safety of our community, especially our younger users, is our priority,” said a spokesman.

Recently, researcher Apptopia reported that TikTok would be the most downloaded app of 2020 worldwide. At least 850 million people have put the app on their phone or tablet, according to the figures. TikTok has also been under heavy fire in the United States for months. Trump argued that TikTok is storing too much data, which would end up with the Chinese government through parent company ByteDance.

The then president demanded that TikTok’s US operations be sold to an American party, otherwise the app would have to go black in the US. In September, Trump agreed to a plan by Oracle and Walmart that would transfer TikTok’s US operations into a new company. But TikTok continued to – for the time being successfully – resist US government interference.

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‘Regulators in the Netherlands must now intervene at TikTok’

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