The Chinese app Tik Tok is extremely popular, especially among very young users. But now the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has launched two investigations into data protection at Tik Tok. This is what it’s about.

As recently as February 2021, the European consumer association BEUC filed a complaint against Tik Tok with the EU Commission and the network of national consumer protection authorities. The grounds: The Chinese short video app does not sufficiently protect its youngest users.

Inadequate data protection at Tik Tok: DPC investigates

The Irish data protection authority has come to a similar conclusion. The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has launched two investigations into the Chinese app.

The DPC is the leading data protection supervisory authority in the European Union. Its focus is therefore naturally particularly on compliance with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In July 2021, the Dutch data protection authority had imposed a fine of 750,000 euros on Tik Tok. The app and its operators had violated the confidentiality of children’s personal data.

Now the Chinese short video app could be facing its next fine. The Irish DPC is allowed to impose fines of up to four percent of a company’s global turnover.

Why is the DPC investigating Tik Tok?

The DPC’s first investigation focuses on the company’s dealings with minors. The DPC wants to investigate whether Tik Tok processed personal data of children and young people “in the context of platform settings.”

The DPC also wants to target the “age verification measures” for user under the age of 13.

The second investigation relates to the transfer of customer information to China. The aim is to determine whether Tik-Tik parent Bytedance nevertheless complies with EU data law when transferring personal data to countries outside the EU.

What Tik Tok says about the allegations

As several media outlets have reported in unison, Tik Tok has said it will work closely with the controller. “The privacy and security of the TikTok community, especially our youngest members, is our highest priority,” the company says.

It said the company has extensive policies and controls in place to protect user data. When transferring data from Europe, Tik Tok relies on approved methods – for example, the so-called standard contractual clauses.