TikTok faces probe from French privacy watchdog after complaint

The UK's data watchdog also has a similar probe pending as TikTok faced increasing pressure in the US. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - France's privacy watchdog opened a probe into TikTok, marking another examination of China-based ByteDance's social media app, which is facing broader scrutiny of its privacy policies.

A spokesman for Paris-based CNIL said the agency opened an investigation after receiving a complaint in May, but declined to give details about the grounds of the complaint or the timing on a ruling.

The CNIL "is particularly vigilant with regard to this company, particularly with regard to this complaint and questions and other complaints that the commission is likely to receive", the spokesman said.

TikTok didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

In June, the European Union's data protection chiefs pledged to coordinate potential investigations into the Chinese company, after the Netherlands's data-protection commission said in May that it was looking into TikTok's policies to protect children's data.

The UK's data watchdog also has a similar probe pending as TikTok faces increasing pressure in the United States.

President Donald Trump said he would ban the app best-known for lip-syncing videos on grounds that it jeopardises national security.

Microsoft Corp is in talks to acquire the operations of TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The company has rejected claims that it's controlled by the Chinese government or that user data is at risk.

CNIL, which ordered Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp in 2017 to stop sharing user data with its parent without obtaining the necessary consent, also imposed a €50 million (S$80.8 million) fine on Alphabet's Google for alleged violations of the EU's privacy rules.

The 27-nation EU has some of the strictest data-protection laws in the world.

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, gives EU authorities the power to fine companies as much as 4 per cent of global annual sales for the most serious violations.

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