TikTok’s attempt to delay being designated as a “gatekeeper” in the EU has been denied by a court, according to a report by Bloomberg. The EU’s General Court dismissed owner ByteDance’s request for an interim measure that would have given TikTok more time to comply with strict Digital Markets Act (DMA) antitrust rules. ByteDance had asked for the measure in December to avoid having to follow the regulations before the EU made a final decision on the appeal.

The court found that ByteDance failed to demonstrate the urgency required for the interim measure. As a result, TikTok will temporarily have to comply with DMA rules that come into effect in March, even if the EU ultimately approves the appeal. The judges stated that ByteDance did not prove a real risk of disclosure of confidential information or show that such a risk could lead to serious and irreparable harm.

Consequences for TikTok

Being labeled as a gatekeeper means that TikTok will have to make changes for its EU users, including granting third-party businesses access to its services and obtaining consent for personalized advertising. Moreover, if TikTok or other gatekeeper companies violate DMA rules, they could face significant fines. This places TikTok in the company of tech giants like Apple, Meta, Amazon, and Google, who are also subject to the same regulations.

A spokesperson for TikTok expressed disappointment with the court’s decision but mentioned that they are looking forward to presenting their case in an expedited manner. Although TikTok is appealing the gatekeeper designation, the ruling means they will have to adhere to the DMA rules for the time being.

In addition to the gatekeeper designation, TikTok is facing a separate probe in the EU regarding its content moderation for minors. This investigation, conducted under the Digital Services Act (DSA), is concerned with whether TikTok’s recent changes to comply with the DSA are sufficient to protect underage users. Last year, TikTok made adjustments for its EU users in response to the DSA, such as ceasing to show personalized ads to minors based on their platform activities.

Overall, the EU court’s rejection of TikTok’s appeal to delay being labeled a gatekeeper has significant implications for the company, as it will now have to abide by DMA rules sooner than anticipated. The outcome of the appeal remains uncertain, but in the meantime, TikTok will need to make adjustments to comply with the regulations in place.


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