TikTok: what to expect from the commission of inquiry before the Senate

TikTok in the sights of French senators. The Independents – Republic and Territories senatorial group has obtained authorization to conduct a commission of inquiry into the operation of TikTok. The app is suspected by senators of influencing content on its platform outside of China. The company’s privacy policy and its management of personal data are also pointed out.

Precisely, the senators will be responsible for shedding light on “the use of the TikTok social network, its use of data, its influence strategyThe 19 members in charge of the file will be appointed proportionally by political group on March 1, indicates Public Senate.

TikTok suspected of influence

The statement of reasons informs us about the charges justifying the opening of the procedure. The document talks about social media platforms as a “privileged channel of influence insofar as they bring together a very large number of people, whose preferences it is possible to know but also the relationships they maintain between them.”

The practices of TikTok would be similar to those of the American giants, with the difference that “these are, however, managed by private American companies, within a democracy endowed with an independent judiciary.” Now the seat of the application, located “within a totalitarian state lacking an independent judiciary”tenfold”the extent“of the difficulties noted by the senators.

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Suspicions relate largely to the differentiated mode of operation according to geographical areas. “Seeking to increase the addictiveness of its app by spreading flashy content abroad, the app is said to be instead sharing educational content in China.“, accuses the document. From a regulatory point of view, TikTok is accused of not respecting its obligations in terms of GDPR. The representatives mention in particular the possibility that the personal data of users is not confidential or, even worse, that “third party organizations“can access it.

What are the powers of the commission of inquiry?

For six months, the senators of the commission of inquiry will be able to summon the employees of the French branch of TikTok. The app’s global executives, including its CEO Shou Zi Chew, should be invited to come and speak, but nothing will stop them from refusing. “The commission will also hear those who have worked on this subject: members of the administration, journalists, researchers, etc.“, assures Claude Malhuret, at the initiative of the procedure, to Public Senate.

Commissions of inquiry are one of the many means of control available to representatives of the upper house. At the end of the interviews, the members of the group will provide a detailed report including all the testimonies. The conclusions delivered will be used to inform the Senate and the general public on the established facts. Once the diagnosis is made, recommendations are made. Recommendations that could serve as a basis for a future regulatory law in France.

We appreciate the opportunity given to us to set the record straight regarding misunderstandings that TikTok has been subject to, as well as all the measures we are taking to protect our community, and our continued efforts to fully comply with European law.“, reacted TikTok France to the Figaro.

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