European Union questions TikTok on new app that pays users for watching

LONDON — European Union regulators said Wednesday they’re seeking details from TikTok on a new app from the video sharing platform that pays users to watch videos.

The European Commission said it sent TikTok a “request for information” on the TikTok Lite app that has been quietly released in France and Spain.

The commission wants to know about the risk assessment that TikTok should have carried out before deploying the app in the European Union.

“We have already been in direct contact with the Commission regarding this product and will respond to the request for information,” TikTok said in a statement.

Such evaluations are required under the bloc’s Digital Services Act, a sweeping law that took effect last year with the aim of cleaning up social media platforms. The commission is the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top enforcer of digital regulations.

TikTok Lite lets users “earn great rewards,” according to its app store listing. The app, which launched this month in France and Spain, is a slimmed-down version of the main TikTok app and doesn’t come with ecommerce or livestreaming features.

The commission said the app lets users earn points by doing things like watching videos, liking content and following content creators. The points can be exchanged for rewards including Amazon vouchers and gift cards on PayPal.

TikTok said rewards are restricted to users 18 years and older, who have to verify their age. Users can watch up to one hour a day of videos to earn rewards, which are capped at the equivalent of one euro ($1.06) a day, it said.

TikTok has 24 hours to turn over the risk assessment. The commission is interested in what it says about the app’s potential impact on the protection of minors, “as well as on the mental health of users, in particular in relation to the potential stimulation of addictive behaviour.”

It’s also seeking other information on the measures TikTok has put in place to mitigate such “systemic risks,” which the company has until April 26 to provide.

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