Do too many cooks spoil the broth? : how EU law underenforcement allows TikTok’s violations of minors’ rights
Journal of consumer policy, 2023, OnlineFirst
CANTERO GAMITO, Marta, Do too many cooks spoil the broth? : how EU law underenforcement allows TikTok’s violations of minors’ rights, Journal of consumer policy, 2023, OnlineFirst - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75782
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
For some time already, there have been concerns about TikTok’s business practices and their compliance with EU law. Different market investigations found out that TikTok’s Terms of Service do not comply with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive or the Consumers Rights Directive, and that they also infringe the General Data Protection Regulation and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This is particularly problematic considering that many children, a vulnerable category under the applicable law, use TikTok on a daily basis, which intensifies the severity of the infringements. Although the protection of minors is one of the policy objectives of the EU, this article argues that the enforcement structure is deficient. In view of TikTok’s practices infringing EU law, the European Consumer Organization, BEUC, called for an EU-level coordinated action to the European Commission and national authorities to request TikTok to align its practices with EU consumer law under the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation. However, the developments following BEUC’s call for action revealed that the CPC Regulation is not sufficiently effective. Ultimately, the ongoing problems and the seemingly lenient interpretation and application of the CPC Regulation by EU authorities that allow the continuation of TikTok’s identified abusive and misleading practices provide evidence that the institutional apparatus for an EU-wide action for enforcement of consumer and data protection law is failing to deliver. This article provides a practical account of these developments and argues that “too many cooks spoil the broth”—i.e., that the plethora of rules, organizations, and procedures involved in enforcement paradoxically lead to the ineffectiveness of EU law. The paper takes the reconstruction of TikTok as a blueprint for discussing various options on how the existing enforcement structure of EU law in general, and CPC in particular, could and should be improved in light of the entry into application of the Digital Services Act.
Published online: 17 July 2023
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75782
Full-text via DOI: 10.1007/s10603-023-09545-8
ISSN: 0168-7034; 1573-0700
Sponsorship and Funder information:
This article was published Open Access with the support from the EUI Library through the CRUI - Springer Transformative Agreement (2020-2024).
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