A spokesperson for the French National Commission for Information and Freedom (CNIL), headquartered in Paris, said that the agency launched an investigation into TikTok after receiving a complaint in May, but declined to disclose the reasons for the complaint or when the decision was made.
The spokesperson said: “CNIL is particularly vigilant about this company and will take complaints and issues related to it seriously.” TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In June of this year, the EU data protection director promised to coordinate potential investigations against TikTok. Previously, the Dutch Data Protection Commission stated in May that it was investigating TikTok’s policies to protect children’s data. The British data regulator is also conducting a similar investigation, but it still has not reached a conclusion.
TikTok is also facing increasing pressure in the United States. President Trump stated that he may ban the app on the grounds of endangering national security. Microsoft is negotiating to acquire TikTok’s US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations.
In 2017, CNIL ordered Facebook’s instant messaging service WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with its parent company without obtaining the necessary consent. The agency also imposed a fine of 50 million euros (approximately US$59 million) on Google on the grounds that the latter was suspected of violating EU privacy rules.
With 27 member states, the European Union has the most stringent data protection laws in the world. According to the relevant provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union has the right to impose a fine equivalent to 4% of global annual sales on companies that violate the most serious regulations.