By Brian Fung, CNN

Washington (CNN) — TikTok said Wednesday it would suspend a controversial program in the European Union that has prompted growing alarm among EU regulators.

The program at issue appears within TikTok Lite, a less data-intensive version of TikTok’s main app, and which contains a feature that rewards users with cash for engaging with TikTok content and app features.

TikTok said it was “voluntarily” suspending the rewards program after the European Commission announced Monday it could impose fines and a mandatory suspension over concerns that the feature may drive addiction by encouraging users to interact with the platform more.

“TikTok always seeks to engage constructively with the EU Commission and other regulators,” TikTok said in a post on X. “We are therefore voluntarily suspending the rewards functions in TikTok Lite while we address the concerns that they have raised.”

The EU warnings to TikTok reflected an exercise of new oversight powers granted by the Digital Services Act, the trading bloc’s recently enacted law governing online platforms. In opening a probe into TikTok Lite earlier this week, the European Commission said that TikTok could be fined for failing to provide information it owes to the Commission about the app, including a risk assessment report and a separate report outlining steps the company has taken to minimize those risks.

Failure to hand over the risk assessment and risk mitigation report could result in fines of up to 1% of TikTok’s global annual revenue and “periodic penalties” of up to 5% of TikTok’s average daily revenue, the Commission said previously. TikTok also faces further, additional fines of up to 6% of its global annual revenue if the TikTok Lite feature is determined to be in violation of the DSA.

TikTok’s move to suspend TikTok Lite’s reward features in Europe, meanwhile, comes as it faces its biggest threat yet to its United States operations. President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban, after Congress passed the bill earlier this week as part of a wide-ranging foreign aid package meant to support Israel and Ukraine. Under what is now US law, TikTok is forced to find a new owner within months or be banned from the United States entirely.

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