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European Authorities Investigates New TikTok Lite Program Rewarding Viewers with Amazon Gifts

Image Credit : UnsplashImage Credit : Unsplash
  • TikTok Lite's rewards program is under investigation by the European Commission due to concerns over digital addiction among minors.
  • The program offers points for user engagement, redeemable for Amazon vouchers, gift cards, and TikTok coins, but its accessibility to minors is questioned.
  • The situation highlights the ongoing challenge of regulating social media to protect young users while fostering the digital economy.

TikTok has introduced a new facet to its platform, TikTok Lite, which has recently become the center of a regulatory storm in Europe. The app's "Task and Rewards" program, designed to incentivize user engagement, is now under the microscope for potentially fostering digital addiction among young users.

TikTok Lite: A Lighter App with Heavy Rewards

Launched in Spain and France, TikTok Lite is a spinoff that operates on lower data usage, making it accessible to a broader audience. Its standout feature is the rewards program, which entices users over 18 with points for daily logins, video watching, liking posts, and friend referrals. These points can be a gateway to Amazon vouchers, gift cards, and even TikTok's internal currency, TikTok coins, which can be used to support streamers and content creators.

However, the European Commission has raised a red flag, questioning the effectiveness of TikTok's measures to prevent minors from accessing this rewards hub. "We suspect TikTok 'Lite' could be as toxic and addictive as cigarettes 'light,'" expressed Thierry Breton, the EU's commissioner for the internal market. The commission's concerns are not unfounded, as the allure of rewards for content consumption could potentially lead to excessive screen time and digital dependency, particularly among impressionable young users.

The Regulatory Response: Protecting the Youth

The European Commission's stance is clear: unless TikTok can provide convincing evidence of the program's safety for minors, it is prepared to take decisive action, including the suspension of the rewards program under the Digital Services Act (DSA). This move underscores the growing emphasis on digital safety and the protection of minors in the online space.

A spokesperson for TikTok responded to the commission's concerns, stating, "The TikTok Lite rewards hub is not available to under 18s, and there is a daily limit on video watch tasks." Despite these assurances, the platform's commitment to safeguarding its younger audience remains under scrutiny.

The Bigger Picture: Social Media and Youth Engagement

The controversy surrounding TikTok Lite's rewards program is emblematic of a larger conversation about the role of social media in society and its impact on the younger generation. As platforms continue to explore new ways to monetize content and engage users, the balance between innovation and user welfare becomes increasingly delicate.

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