On Friday, TikTok announced further changes to some of the central mechanisms of the social media app in order to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). From the end of August, the “European community” should be able to deactivate the personalization of the recommendation system. As a result, relevant users would see regionally or internationally popular videos in their For You and Live feeds that were no longer based on their personal interests. Video makers continued to appear in the “Following” and Friends timelines, and they follow them, but in chronological order without analyzing people’s profiles. Search results should also be adjusted.
No personalized advertising
A French Senate investigative committee recently complained that TikTok had an “extremely addictive algorithm” that kept users, mostly children and young people, “on the screen for hours”. He brought up a ban on the service with Chinese roots. The operator says it has now set its system so that users aged 13 to 17 no longer see personalized advertising “based on their activities on or outside of TikTok”. For a long time, all users have had the option of switching targeted advertising based on targeting and tracking on or off in their settings.
In accordance with the DSA, TikTok also intends to provide users in the European Economic Area (EEA) with information about a broader range of content moderation choices. “If, for example, we classify a video as unsuitable for a recommendation because it contains unverified claims about an election that is still ongoing,” this will be displayed in the future, the statement said. The service provider also wants to share more details about such decisions. It should be recognizable, for example, whether the measure is based on automated recognition technology.
DSA “stress test” by EU
TikTok also wants to make it clearer how content producers and people who have complained about posts can appeal decisions to delete or keep content on the platform. In the coming weeks, an additional reporting option will be introduced in Europe, allowing users to draw attention to content, including advertising, that they consider illegal. To make this as easy as possible, users will have a list of categories such as hate speech, harassment and white-collar crime to select relevant points.
The EU Commission and TikTok conducted a “stress test” in mid-July to prepare the company to comply with the Digital Services Act. “Tiktok will fully implement the DSA and increase its transparency and accountability,” promised TikTok’s EU policy chief, Caroline Greer, afterwards. The group looks forward to continuing to work with the Commission. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton’s comment was more demanding: The platform operator must now “accelerate the process in order to fully comply with the rules”.
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