Around the World: TikTok and Meta sue the E.U. while Douyin gets a CEO shakeup

By 02/09/2024
Around the World: TikTok and Meta sue the E.U. while Douyin gets a CEO shakeup
Outgoing Douyin CEO Kelly Zhang

Welcome to Around the World, our summary of top digital media headlines from countries other than the United States. We’re always looking for stories that don’t get enough Stateside attention, so hit us up at  if you have one.

TikTok and Meta are suing the E.U. over its enforcement of the Digital Services Act

The Digital Services Act, which the European Union passed in 2022, threatens digital platforms with fines if they fail to remove offensive content in a timely fashion. To bankroll its legislation, the E.U. has required social media companies to pay fees based on their user counts and yearly profits.

TikTok and Meta don’t think that arrangement is fair. Those two companies both filed lawsuits against the E.U. as a protest against the DSA’s pay structure. The two tech giants are arguing that rivals like X, Amazon, and Snapchat are dodging large fees by keeping their yearly profits low. The real issue may be the DSA’s sweeping impact on the tech sector, which has challenged the authority of social leaders like TikTok.


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Douyin’s CEO is stepping down to focus on AI

Zhang Nan, who goes by the English first name Kelly, is on her way out at Douyin. Zhang has worked for the Chinese version of TikTok for ten years, but she is transitioning to a new role at parent company ByteDance. She will lead AI development at a video editing app called Jianying, which is a Chinese equivalent of the Western service CapCut. Zhang, who sold her photo-sharing app to ByteDance in 2014, did not specify what her new role will look like, but she is expected to update Jianying for the era of artificial intelligence.

Russia is reportedly creating a blacklist of vloggers who are active on YouTube

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to animosity between the Kremlin and YouTube, the latter of which has demonetized accounts associated with pro-Russian propaganda. Now, Russia is trying to strongarm creators into leaving the platform that the nation’s Civic Chamber describes as “an effective informational weapon of the West.” The Chamber is building a blacklist that will include Russian creators who are active on YouTube. The goal is to get those personalities to switch to Russia-owned platform, where the Federation can more easily control creator income.

A VTuber’s surprise termination has led to intense backlash and canceled brand deals

VTuber organization Nijisanji has become so massive that Riku Tazumi, the founder of parent company ANYCOLOR, has become one of Japan’s youngest billionaires. But Nijisanji’s rise hasn’t come without controversy. The org recently terminated the contract of Selen Tatsuki even though the VTuber’s human creator had been hospitalized and “couldn’t say or do anything.”

The decision has led to stern condemnation across the social web. The backlash has been so intense that some brands have terminated their partnerships with Nijisanji. The VTuber collective’s share price has also declined in the wake of the scandal. If you’re interested in learning more, Polygon has published a thorough recap of the drama.

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