Caixin
Sep 16, 2021 04:05 AM
BUSINESS

TikTok Faces EU Data Probes Into Children’s Safety and China Link

The TikTok app is displayed in the app store on a smartphone in this arranged photograph in London
The TikTok app is displayed in the app store on a smartphone in this arranged photograph in London

(Bloomberg) — TikTok faces two investigations by the Irish data watchdog following intense scrutiny for months over concerns that children’s data isn’t safe on the platform.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission opened two “own volition” investigations into ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, the Irish regulator said Tuesday. The commission became the lead European Union data protection authority for TikTok in December.

The first probe will look into TikTok’s processing of data for underage users and whether it’s in line with the EU’s strict protection rules. The second follows concerns expressed by the Irish privacy chief, Helen Dixon, that some EU user data could be accessed by “maintenance and AI engineers in China.”

The Irish authority has dozens of open privacy probes into tech giants, which could face hefty fines for violations under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp was fined 225 million euros ($266 million) earlier this month, following a record 746 million euro penalty against Amazon.com Inc. by the Luxembourg data watchdog.

“The privacy and safety of the TikTok community, particularly our youngest members, is our highest priority,” the company said Tuesday in a statement. It said it will cooperate with the Irish authority. “We’ve implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses,” the company said.

Contact editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com)

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