The EU Court Rejects TikTok’s Request to Stall ‘Gatekeeper’ Designation

TikTok’s attempts to delay being classified as a “gatekeeper” by the European Union (EU) have been rejected by the EU’s General Court. The court dismissed ByteDance’s request to buy TikTok more time to implement strict Digital Markets Act (DMA) antitrust rules, stating that the company failed to demonstrate the necessary urgency. Although TikTok is appealing this designation, the court’s decision means that, for the time being, TikTok will have to comply with the DMA rules that go into effect in March.

TikTok’s status as a gatekeeper implies that it must make certain changes to its platform to adhere to EU regulations. These changes include granting access to third-party businesses and requiring consent for personalized advertising. Failure to comply with the DMA rules could result in significant fines for TikTok and other gatekeeper companies.

The EU’s General Court rejected ByteDance’s request for an interim measure, as the company failed to prove that there was a real risk of disclosure of confidential information or that such a risk would cause serious and irreparable harm. This means that TikTok will need to temporarily comply with the DMA rules starting in March, even if the EU later approves the appeal.

Despite the court’s decision, TikTok remains resilient and looks forward to having the substance of its case heard on an expedited basis. A spokesperson for TikTok expressed disappointment with the decision but remains optimistic about presenting their arguments.

In addition to the rejection of its request, TikTok is also facing a separate investigation by the EU regarding its content moderation rules for minors. This investigation falls under the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA). There are concerns that the changes TikTok made to comply with the DSA may not adequately protect underage users. TikTok introduced several modifications for its EU users in response to the DSA, including the cessation of personalized ads for minors based on their platform activities.

The EU’s General Court decision rejecting TikTok’s request to stall its gatekeeper designation is a significant blow to the company. It will now have to comply with the DMA rules that take effect in March, subject to any changes stemming from the appeal. Additionally, TikTok faces a separate investigation into its content moderation practices for minors. These challenges highlight the increasing scrutiny faced by tech giants in the European Union and reflect the ongoing battle between the EU and Big Tech over regulatory compliance. The final outcome of TikTok’s appeal, as well as the investigation into its content moderation, could have far-reaching implications for the platform and its millions of EU users.


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