The lead data privacy regulator in the European Union has opened two inquiries into the Chinese-owned short-video platform TikTok, related to the processing of children’s personal data and transfers of personal data to China.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is lead EU regulator for many of the world’s top internet firms due to the location of their regional headquarters, is allowed to impose fines of up to 4% of global revenue.
In August, TikTok announced stricter privacy controls for teenagers, seeking to address criticism that it has failed to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content.
Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok has grown rapidly around the world, particularly among teenagers.
The first of the probes relates “to the processing of personal data in the context of platform settings for users under age 18 and age verification measures for persons under 13,” the Data Protection Commission said in a statement.
The second probe will focus on transfers by TikTok of personal data to China and whether the company complies with EU data law in its transfers of personal data to countries outside the bloc, the statement said.
Ireland’s data watchdog earlier this month levied a record €225 million (US$265.64 million) fine on Facebook’s WhatsApp under the EU’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR).
But the watchdog has faced criticism from other European regulators at the speed of its inquiries and the severeness of its sanctions.