TikTok Adopts New Strategies to Align with EU’s DSA Regulations


In alignment with the upcoming European Union guidelines, particularly the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), the popular short video application TikTok is on the path to roll out a variety of enhanced features. Renowned for its viral challenges and lively clips, TikTok has been in the spotlight regarding concerns over its influence on political systems and the safety of user data.

Extensive conversations have transpired between TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew and various European leaders and watchdogs around the possible risks of data leakage to the Chinese authorities, as a result of TikTok’s ownership by China’s ByteDance. 

With the EU’s DSA set to come into effect in 2023, digital services such as Google, Meta Platforms, and TikTok are mandated to implement a series of actions aimed at managing unlawful content, engaging with official bodies about their data, and taking a stand against certain advertising approaches.

TikTok’s Steps Towards DSA Readiness

As the DSA’s implementation looms on the horizon with its August 28, 2023 deadline, online platforms are under pressure to block illicit content. Stringent auditing methods are mandated to preempt the proliferation of such content risks. Those failing to show DSA compliance could face severe financial penalties. 

The modification in TikTok’s policies is spurred by the company’s initiative to undertake a ‘stress test’ at its Dublin branch. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner, acknowledged TikTok’s testing outcomes, which suggested significant organizational enhancements, including the modification of content curating algorithms focused on safeguarding minors, bolstering moderation tactics, limiting data accessibility, and boosting transparency.

“The recent occurrences have put a spotlight on the extent of TikTok’s reach into democratic societies, highlighting the necessity of autonomous EU-level enforcement. TikTok has allocated extensive resources towards DSA adherence. The time has come to intensify efforts for full compliance.”

Caroline Greer, a representative of TikTok’s public policy team in Brussels, has conveyed to the press with clarity that the company is wholeheartedly engaged in embracing the DSA to foster an environment of greater transparency and responsibility.

Direcives Enacted by TikTok for EU DSA

Among the 19 enterprises affected by the DSA, TikTok is actively introducing several measures to meet its responsibilities. The platform has proclaimed its dedication to meeting the DSA’s expectations, setting new standards through creative approaches. 

European visitors will soon have the option to switch off the personalized algorithm for sections like the “For You” and “Live” pages, in compliance with the DSA which requires that users should be able to reject personalization. This aspect is important as these custom features heavily utilize data tracking and user profiling based on activity and content choices.

Additionally, TikTok plans to tailor the search results to show trending content within a user’s locale and apply a time-based sequence to the ‘Following’ and ‘Friends’ tabs for those opting out of personalized content. Users will also find it simpler to flag unlawful content when they encounter it.

Moreover, adolescents aged 13 to 17 will not be included in targeted personalized advertisement campaigns grounded on their online behavior. They will now have to actively disable this feature themselves.

Other major platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are expected to follow suit with comparable measures to conform to these fresh regulations. 

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