Following the violence that erupted between Hamas and Israel on Thursday Thierry Breton, the top IT policeman for the EU, cautioned TikTok about “illegal content and disinformation” on its platform.
He also asked the Chinese-owned video sharing platform to answer within 24 hours with details on how it is addressing online misinformation.
Breton gave similar warnings to X, formerly Twitter, and Facebook parent Meta this week.
Breton wrote to Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, stating that “given that your platform is widely used by children and teenagers, you have a particular obligation to protect them from violent content depicting hostage taking and other graphic videos which are reportedly widely circulating on your platform, without appropriate safeguards.”
The police boss emphasised that the EU’s recent Digital Services Act (DSA), legislation that went into effect two months ago and required them to crack down on anything considered illegal under EU law or the laws of specific EU countries, applied to TikTok and other sizable online platforms.
A corporation that violates the DSA may be subject to fines of up to 6% of its global revenue, obligatory corrective actions to stop the offending content, or even possible European platform bans.
Breton wrote to Chew that, similar to his emails to X CEO Elon Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, his request was urgent and called for a response “within the next 24 hours.”
Breton’s account on X and a new one he started this week on X’s rival, Bluesky both shared the entire letter in its entirety.
Misinformation and disinformation about the Hamas attack in Israel this weekend have increased, according to the reputable internet verification, research, and debunking website Bellingcat.
It listed instances of videos that were posted on X, TikTok, and other platforms that were fake or deceptive.
It discovered a number of these videos on the social media site Telegram, which is not now governed by the DSA but will be once smaller platforms fall under its purview starting in February.