TikTok’s Mayer pledges fake news fight in call with EU’s Breton


FILE PHOTO: A person holds a smartphone as Tik Tok logo is displayed behind in this picture illustration taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Chinese video app TikTok’s new Chief Executive Kevin Mayer has told EU digital chief Thierry Breton he intends to play an active role fighting disinformation, an EU official said on Tuesday, as Breton pushes tech giants to step up their efforts against fake news.

Breton in the last two months has held video conferences with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to promote his campaign against fake news and other issues.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, allows users to create short videos. It has exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 crisis but has recently been hit with privacy complaints and concerns stemming from its apparently close ties to Beijing.

Mayer, previously Walt Disney Co’s top streaming executive, left the U.S. entertainment and theme parks giant to become TikTok’s CEO last month.

“Good conversation with Kevin Mayer, CEO of TikTok. Entertaining millions, TikTok has a role to play against disinformation,” Breton said in a tweet on Tuesday after a video call with Mayer.

Breton invited TikTok to join the European Union’s code of conduct, said the EU official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Members of the voluntary code of conduct include Google, Facebook, Twitter and Mozilla which signed up in October 2018 to combat fake news on their platforms in a bid to stave off more heavy-handed regulations.

“Breton expects online platforms in general and TikTok in particular to use governance proactively to be a partner in fighting disinformation,” the official said.

Mayer committed to acting responsibly and to address issues related to illegal and harmful content, including taking additional steps in the fight against disinformation, the official said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tom Brown

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