This article has been updated to include a statement from TikTok.
EU commissioners warned TikTok’s CEO on Tuesday (January 10) that the company needs to regain their trust following revelations about the handover of confidential data to China.
Company CEO Shou Zi Chew met with Values and Transparency Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, to discuss data security, disinformation and EU digital regulation.
Data protection and privacy on the app have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. Last November, the application found that data from European users may be viewed by employees in China, where TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is based.
Among the topics discussed during the meeting with Jourová were the safety of children, the transparency of paid political content and compliance with future European regulations. These regulations include the Digital Services Act (Digital Services ActDSA) and the Digital Markets Act (Digital Markets ActAMD).
The discussion also focused on the potential spread of Russian disinformation on the platform, while the Commissioner for Values and Transparency welcomed TikTok’s decision in June last year to join the EU Code of Conduct against disinformation. This is a set of voluntary measures aimed at countering disinformation and intended to become a regulatory tool in its own right, in connection with the DSA.
The first progress report since the 2022 code update is expected later this month. “Transparency will be a key element in this regard”Ms. Jourová said after the meeting.
“I’m counting on TikTok to fully deliver on its commitments to do its best to comply with European law and regain the trust of European regulators”she added. “There is no doubt that user data in Europe is secure and not exposed to illegal access by third country authorities. »
The meeting also discussed recent revelations that ByteDance had accessed the data of journalists reporting on the company in order to identify workers who might have leaked information to them.
In response to a question about the matter, the TikTok boss allegedly confirmed that this was inadmissible and that the people affected by these allegations no longer work for the company, the commission said.
During the meeting with Ms Vestager, the discussion focused on the company’s preparations to comply with DSA and DMA and its approach to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
TikTok’s data handling practices have been the subject of numerous investigations by regulators in some EU member states. Across the Atlantic, US authorities have long been wary of the company.
Just before the start of the year, the US House of Representatives ordered its employees to remove the app from all devices they use in the course of their jobs, following an earlier warning from officials at the institution that TikTok featured a “high risk for users”.
“Our conversations today focused on our commitment to compliance with regulations that will shape Europeans’ experience with platforms like ours and set important new standards of transparency in the process.”said Theo Bertram, TikTok’s vice president for public policy in Europe. “It is a top priority for us to be ready for this”.
“We welcomed the opportunity to consolidate how we are further strengthening data security in Europe”, He added. He also said the company was eager to continue “this constructive engagement in 2023 and beyond. »
[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]