Italy’s competition and market authority (AGCM) launched an investigation into TikTok’s European company in the Republic of Ireland and related units, accusing the social media player of failing to adequately monitor third-party content.
In a statement, the authority outlined its suspicions and revealed it had conducted an inspection of TikTok’s Italian headquarters with the police.
AGCM’s investigation comprises Europe-wide operation TikTok Technology, based in the Republic of Ireland, alongside operations in the UK and Italy.
TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance.
AGCM explained the investigation followed publication of “numerous videos of young people who engage in self-harming behaviour” and related viral challenges, noting the app’s popularity with vulnerable users.
It accused the company of not following its own guidelines about removing content related to self-harm, suicide and bad nutrition.
Alongside moderation and content policies, AGCM is assessing “exploitation of AI techniques likely to cause an undue conditioning of users”.
The probe is the latest piece of negative publicity for the Chinese-owned platform, following widespread reports of governments in countries including the US and UK banning TikTok from devices used by some officials.