Europe’s crackdown on Big Tech omitted TikTok — but now that’s set to change


TikTok has begun to feel the sting of . Political and regulatory pressure in Europe, where the . Chinese-owned app has avoided the scrutiny it faces in the United States.

EU. Internal Market Commissioner . Thierry Breton warned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew at a meeting this month . That the bloc could ban the app if it doesn’tfollowh new rules on digital content by a September 1 deadline.

It’s a marked shift from the E.U.’s near-silence on TikTok. When U.S. lawmakers banned the app from federal devices in . December over offensive — national security concerns. A proposed bipartisan bill seeks to block the app from operating in the United States

It is not that the E.U. Soft on technology. Europe fines US tech giants for breaching EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The difference with TikTok is that. The app has stayed out of the crosshairs of commercial interests in Europe.

“There is no political demand to investigate Chinese companies,” Hoseok Lee-Makiyama, director of . The European Center for International Political Economy think tank. Said in an interview in December.
“TikTok’s user base is much bigger than many people in Europe think,” he said. But, he added, You’re not going to look very unless they’re stealing a lot of your ad revenue.”

According to Sensor . Tower’s Abe Yousef, TikTok had about 275 million monthly active users in . Europe as of December, more than a third of Europe’s roughly 750 million population.
According to Data.ai, known as App Annie. TikTok was the most downloaded social media app in Italy and Spain last year. The app ranked second in France and Germany, the data shows.

WhatsApp, owned by . Facebook parent Meta, ranks first among social media app downloads in . France and Germany and third in Italy and Spain, according to data.ai.

Meta reported European . Revenue of $29.06 billion in 2021, a region the company defines as including Russia and Turkey. In contrast, TikTok recorded a turnover of $531 million in . The European Union in 2021, according to the latest available . UK filings, but that was four times more than it disclosed for 2020.

“It takes some time for the European. Commission to get its act together on these issues,” said. Dexter Thielian, lead tech and telecoms analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

“It’s not because of a lack of will on . The part of the European Commission to do something,” Thielian told  in a phone interview. “They have their hands full with big companies.”

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