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Is TikTok Lite over before it even starts?

Available for a month in France and Spain, the app that pays 0.36 cents an hour to view content is under investigation by the EU. How does it work in detail?


"Earn easy money online": a query among the most formulated universe of the internet. For a few months now, in addition to the classic courses of self-styled cryptogurus and charts on the revenue of streaming platforms, it might seem strange to find TikTok too.

Launched a few months ago, TikTok Lite, the latest gem of the Chinese IT giant ByteDance, has made a lot of talk about itself, raising many concerns among the highest levels of the European Union.

But how does TikTok Lite work?

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From the images that come from Spain and France, at the time the only European countries where the app was launched, do not change much or the logo, almost identical to the older brother (musical note on a black background, but topped by lightning), neither form and fruition of the content, short and scrollable upwards.

With regard to the most computer component, TikTok in its lite version, allows operation even on slower devices (less than 2 GB of RAM is required, usable with 2 or 3G connections) and poorly capacious in terms of memory (no takes just 80 MB). An app designed not only for a young and medium-rich audience, more updated in terms of smartphones, but also for the non-native digital or those that can not afford the latest model of Iphone.

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How much and how do you earn?

What’s new is the interface: in the upper left, a counter of the points earned from viewing the content has been added. TikTok Lite is in fact a watch-and-get-rewarded app, which allows you to earn prizes or rewards by watching videos, then convertible into cash. Not a big news so far, considering that there have been applications like Swagbucks, FeaturePoints, AppNana, CashPirate.

The gain is around 3600 coins per hour, about 0.36 cents, convertible into Amazon and PayPal gift vouchers, or TikTok currency to spend during the creators' lives.

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It doesn’t take much to understand the risks of social addiction that this mechanism can trigger, in the very young but not only. Pseudo-dystopian scenarios make their way into the imagination: the user dusts off old smartphones from the drawer, which became useful due to the low requirements required for Lite, opens several accounts and starts a compulsive scrolling, enchanted by the few cents offered by the platform. A mass of hours of "work" underpaid for which in the real world would be shouted scandal, but that in the digital world does not worry because “I’m paid just to watch videos". Behind that alone, hidden are data donated unknowingly and age limits to access the app are not exactly impassable, although TikTok has declared that the app is forbidden to children under 18.

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Suspicions that have alarmed the European Union, long opposed to TikTok and committed to greater security and digital awareness in the borders of the Union. The EU has in fact initiated proceedings against TikTok to determine whether, with the launch of Lite, it has violated the Digital Services Act, the European regulation on digital services, approved in 2022 and in force since February 2024.

To calm the waters, on April 24 with a Tweet on X, TikTok said it has voluntarily suspended the reward functions of Lite, waiting for the investigation by the Union.

Are we facing the second setback of the most popular social network in the world, after the recent request of the US government to separate from the Chinese parent company, under penalty of a national ban? Surely the match Europe-TikTok does not end here; the escalation can only get worse if, after the next European elections, will be reconfirmed Ursula von Der Leyen: the president of the EU Commission has not excluded a total ban of the app from European soil. The fate of many influencers hangs on the results of the polls.



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios