Interest group steps up their battle against TikTok

The Foundation for Market Information Research (SOMI) now represents more than 60,000 consumers in a collective claim against TikTok. Now the organization is stepping up the fight.

This article was published on 7th April 2021 on Emerce in the Netherlands. Please find the English translation below.

After a 12-year-old boy died on 22 March after taking part in one of the many so-called challenges that the platform promotes, the number of participants is increasing rapidly. In this challenge, participants deliberately had to suffocate themselves for as long as possible. The boy was later declared brain dead.

In January, a 10-year-old Italian girl who took part in the same challenge died. The Italian data protection authority has since imposed a temporary ban on users who have not verified their age. However, the verification process can easily be bypassed by entering a false date of birth.

SOMI is now also calling on regulatory authority in Ireland, where TikTok has established its European headquarters, to 'intervene immediately'.

SOMI accuses TikTok of continuous negligence in safeguarding the safety of its young users.

Both before and after both tragic incidents, TikTok failed to comply with the requirements imposed by authorities regarding the access of underage children to the platform, according to the organization.

In addition, SOMI considers violations of the European GDPR to be proven, ranging from the unsafe and unauthorized processing of personal data to the transfer of data of EU citizens to China.

A recent report from the Irish Data Protection Commission shows that AI engineers in China have unauthorized access to the data of European TikTok users. The Irish authority has led the EU-wide investigation into TikTok, but no further action has been taken so far to stop TikTok in its malicious practices and compensate victims for the damage suffered.

SOMI is now also filing an official complaint with the Irish - the country where TikTok has established its European headquarters - and Italian data protection authorities, calling on both authorities to take immediate action against TikTok's breach of the GDPR and to protect young people from the ongoing hazards emerging from the platform.

In the meantime, the foundation is preparing legal action against the social medium.

Click here for the original article on (in Dutch)