France opens probe into TikTok

(Bloomberg) – France’s privacy watchdog opened a probe into TikTok, marking another examination of ByteDance Ltd.’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 is looking into TikTok’s policies to protect children’s data. The U.K.’s data watchdog also has a similar probe pending.

TikTok is under increasing pressure in the U.S., too. President Donald Trump said he would ban the app best-known for lip-syncing videos on grounds it jeopardizes national security. Microsoft Corp. is in talks to acquire the operations of TikTok in the U.S. 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 Inc.’s messaging service WhatsApp in 2017 to stop sharing user data with its parent without obtaining the necessary consent, also imposed a 50 million euro ($59 million) fine on Alphabet Inc.’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% of global annual sales for the most serious violations.


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