EU Scrutinizes US-Based Social Media Apps For Data Privacy

EU Scrutinizes US-Based Social Media Apps For Data Privacy

Date: March 20, 2024

TikTok is back on the regulation radar, facing a potential ban. Other US-based social media apps are also under scrutiny for data and AI privacy issues.

International censure has strengthened globally due to the rise in controversial incidents led by Artificial Intelligence. Content moderation, training ethics, data privacy, and AI development transparency are some of the key concerns for global regulatory bodies. The Western nations are forming stricter compliance regulations around AI development, usage, and commercial propagation, which puts many social media apps under scrutiny. Over the last two years, multiple international regulatory bodies have alleged TikTok's inadequate security measures, especially around the protection of minors. 

Over the last year, tech giants like Amazon, OpenAI, Gemini, and Co-Pilot have been drenched in allegations from global authorities regarding content moderation and other privacy measures. The US House of Representatives has passed the bill to either potentially ban TikTok or compel its parent company, ByteDance, to sell its stake in the platform. This regulatory fight between regulators and developers shows how quickly control and oversight of the tech industry is evolving.

The European Union has also taken strict measures against TikTok, launching an exhaustive investigation into the platform’s alleged failure to protect minors. The investigation follows a hefty fine of $372 million imposed on TikTok by the EU nearly six months ago. Under the new regulations of the Digital Services Act, TikTok could face an additional penalty of $800 million or 6% of its global turnover.

After persistent allegations, users have switched to TikTok alternatives over safety concerts. As new regulations and related actions are implemented, consumers should remain alert for the next few months. These changes might impact the user experience across major social media platforms. Even if TikTok passes the scrutiny, the company will have a five-month window to sell TikTok’s US operations before facing severe penalties. 

The shifting priorities of regulatory bodies will pose legal challenges for major players in the EU region. From protecting freedom of speech to prioritizing user protection, the international trends towards regulatory monitoring of online platforms are rapidly rising. These regulations are caused by an effort to evolve the earlier internet legislations, including 1990s legislation governing online service providers and Section 230 in the United States, which extends First Amendment rights to digital platforms.

The semiconductor chip industry has experienced revolutionary revenue growth due to the surging need for hardware to facilitate AI development. With Nvidia’s recent launch of the Blackwell chip series, the development process will fasten further, leaving regulatory bodies even less time to introduce concrete laws. Meanwhile, the European Commission is tightening the screws on tech giants like Meta, Google, and TikTok. 

These companies must disclose their process of handling sensitive user data to train their AI models. The risks of generative AI will increase as top companies bring GenAI features to mobile devices. Awareness among users of social media apps is also rising gradually, which will help regulators enforce better laws around AI development and usage.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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