In a world where cat videos and dance challenges mingle with global crises, the European Union has taken a stand, waving a virtual red flag at TikTok and Meta. The reason? To ensure the safety of the digital darlings – our kids – and to combat the wildfire of misinformation.
Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner, didn’t mince words. He essentially said, “Hey TikTok, you’ve got a duty to protect our little ones from violence, terror, death dares, and all sorts of potentially harmful stuff.” And he wasn’t just whispering it to himself; he shared it on social media, of course!
What is the Crack Down About?
So, TikTok and Meta had a collective “uh-oh” moment. TikTok was given 24 hours to prove they’re serious about safety. And what was the impetus for this digital slap on the wrist? Well, it turns out that TikTok’s deadline came in the wake of some unpleasant events in the real world. TikTok’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, said they’ve been working overtime to clean up their act since the Hamas-Israel conflict. They’ve removed “tens of thousands of pieces of content” and scrubbed away hundreds of accounts.
But it’s not just TikTok in the hot seat. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is also feeling the heat. The EU handed them a similar warning about disinformation. No 24-hour notice, though – they got the full treatment. The EU is locked in a rather intense chat with Meta, and they’re not ready to spill the beans about what’s being discussed. That’s digital diplomacy for you.
Linda Yaccarino from Meta assured everyone that they’ve assembled a superhero squad of experts, including folks who can speak Hebrew and Arabic like pros, to keep an eye on things. They’re racing against the clock to keep their platforms safe, remove the bad stuff, and work with third-party fact-checkers.
Illegal Content on TikTok?
Now, to address the EU’s “illegal content” concerns, Yaccarino reminded everyone that they didn’t get any love letters from Europol. She insisted that Meta has reallocated resources, shuffled teams, and left digital breadcrumbs in the form of context-rich notes on more than 700 posts.
This act is like a digital watchdog, making sure big platforms don’t serve us questionable content. If these companies don’t pass the DSA test, they could face hefty fines or, as a last resort, a temporary EU ban.
In a world where tech giants rule the digital domain, TikTok and Meta face not just legal checks but also a massive “like” button from the public for stepping up and keeping the digital playground safe for our kids. It’s an era-defining challenge for these tech giants, one that might define the future of our digital world.