BRUSSELS, Belgium: European Commissioner Thierry Breton has told Shou Zi Chew, CEO of Chinese social media giant TikTok, that his social media company could be banned from being used in the European Union if it does not to comply with the Digital Services Act before September.
"We will not hesitate to adopt the full scope of sanctions to protect our citizens if audits do not show full compliance," Breton said in a video call with Chew.
"With younger audiences comes greater responsibility. It is not acceptable that behind seemingly fun and harmless features, it takes users seconds to access harmful and sometimes even life-threatening content," Breton added, as quoted by Reueters.
In response, TikTok claimed that it was committed to the Digital Services Act and will make efforts to comply with other EU legislation, such as data protection rules and a code of practice on disinformation.
In a tweet, Caroline Greer, TikTok's director of public policy and government relations, said, "The safety of our users is paramount."
For the past three years, the video app, owned by Chinese technology conglomerate ByteDance, has countered US claims that personal data can be accessed and manipulated by China's Communist Party or any other entity influenced by Beijing.
After its admission in December 2022 that some of its employees accessed the TikTok user data of two journalists to try to identify the source of information leaks to the media, pressure on the company has increased.
The Digital Services Act requires online platforms to more proactively screen illegal content, and failure could mean fines of up to 6 percent of their annual global turnover.
Last week, Chew visited Brussels to meet regulators, including EU anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager, to reassure the bloc it will respect its increasingly stringent tech rules and commitments to privacy and child safety.