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Outrage in Italy as TikTok Promotes Life-Threatening 'Challenge': Authorities Take Action

Outrage in Italy as TikTok's 'Scar Challenge' Sparks €10 Million Fine - Public Safety Under Fire!
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 10 million euros. This is the amount of the fine that TikTok will have to pay in Italy, where the platform has just been condemned for its lack of discernment on the issue of potentially dangerous challenges pushed forward by its algorithms. The AGCM (Italian Competition and Market Authority) accuses the Chinese social network of having allowed the proliferation of videos and content “likely to threaten the psychophysical security of users, in particular if they are minors and vulnerable.".

Outrage in Italy as TikTok Promotes Life-Threatening 'Challenge': Authorities Take Action

The platform is particularly singled out for its lack of responsiveness on at least one challenge that has gone viral: the so-called “scar” challenge, which last year consisted of strongly pinching one's cheek to make a red mark appear, recalls Le World.

The popularity of this challenge, particularly in France, led the AGCM to open an investigation in early 2023. The latter therefore allowed the Italian authority to determine that “TikTok did not take adequate measures to prevent the dissemination of such content, not fully respecting the guidelines it has adopted.” A risky situation for the body, which simultaneously points to “the tendency [of adolescents] to imitate the behavior of a group.”.

A fine of 10 million euros is the least of TikTok’s worries.

TikTok's algorithm is also the subject of reprimands from the AGCM, which considers that the latter “has the effect of excessively conditioning users, who are pushed to use the platform more and more.". TikTok, for its part, simply indicated in the Italian press that it “disagrees with this decision.”. However, the company did not specify whether it intended to appeal this decision. According to her, the scar challenge only recorded “a daily average of around a hundred searches at the time the [Italian] authority opened its investigation last year.”. It is not enough to justify a fine if we follow the logic of the group, a subsidiary of the Chinese giant ByteDance.

In detail, we learn in any case that the fine imposed by the AGCM will be distributed between the companies TikTok Technology Limited in Ireland, TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited in the United Kingdom, and TikTok Italy Srl.

We will add that this fine of 10 million euros seems, in the context of the start of 2024, very derisory in view of the risks run by TikTok on the American market. In Washington, the House of Representatives adopted a bill this week aimed at banning TikTok from the Google and Microsoft application markets in the United States if the platform does not cut ties with its parent company, accused of collusion with the Chinese Communist Party. This is a very concrete threat for the company, especially since Joe Biden has already indicated that he would promulgate this law if it were to be passed by the Senate.

Italy TikTok Challenge Fine - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

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