TikTok's Legal Tussle: EU Court Rejects Stall Attempt on DMA Antitrust Rules

Explore the EU court's rejection of TikTok's attempt to delay gatekeeper designation under DMA rules.

Gobind Arora
Published on: 10 Feb 2024 9:22 AM GMT
TikToks Legal Tussle: EU Court Rejects Stall Attempt on DMA Antitrust Rules

In a recent development, TikTok's bid to delay the European Union's (EU) designation of it as a "gatekeeper" under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) antitrust rules has been dismissed by the EU's General Court. Authored by Amrita Khalid, this piece provides insights into the court's decision and its implications for TikTok.

**TikTok's Legal Challenge:**

TikTok, owned by ByteDance, sought to halt the EU from labeling it a "gatekeeper," a status that subjects platforms to stringent DMA antitrust rules. The court rejected ByteDance's request for an interim measure, citing a lack of demonstrated urgency. Despite TikTok appealing the gatekeeper designation, the EU has yet to reach a final decision.

**Court's Rationale:**

The judges asserted that ByteDance failed to show a genuine risk of disclosing confidential information or the potential for serious and irreparable harm. This decision signifies that TikTok will need to comply with DMA rules temporarily, even if the EU later approves the appeal.

**Implications for TikTok:**

As a designated gatekeeper, TikTok will join major tech players like Apple, Meta, Amazon, and Google in implementing changes for EU users. These changes include granting third-party businesses access to services and obtaining consent for personalized advertising. Violations of DMA rules could result in substantial fines for TikTok and other gatekeeper companies.

**Challenges Mounting for TikTok:**

Apart from the DMA battle, TikTok faces additional scrutiny in the EU. A separate probe under the Digital Services Act (DSA) investigates TikTok's content moderation rules for minors. Concerns have arisen about the adequacy of TikTok's changes in compliance with the DSA to protect underage users. The outcome of this investigation could pose further challenges for the platform.

**TikTok's Response:**

Expressing disappointment with the court's decision, a TikTok spokesperson stated a keenness to have the substance of their case heard expediently. This underscores TikTok's commitment to navigating the legal complexities and addressing concerns raised by EU regulators.

**Looking Ahead:**

The rejection of TikTok's stall attempt underscores the evolving regulatory landscape for major tech platforms in the EU. As the DMA rules come into effect in March, TikTok and other gatekeepers will need to swiftly adapt to comply with the regulatory framework or face potential consequences.

Gobind Arora

Gobind Arora

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