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China’s TikTok Fined $5.4m Over Online Tracking Breach

France’s digital watchdog’s investigation concerned the platform’s website tiktok.com and not its heavily used smartphone applications

A string of Western governments and institutions have banned TikTok in recent weeks.


China’s TikTok has been hit with a 5 million euros ($5.4 million) fine by France’s data regulator. 

The country’s watchdog, CNIL, has punished the short video platform over its handling of online tracking files known as “cookies”, which the ByteDance-owned company said it had now addressed.

The CNIL stressed that its investigation only concerned the website tiktok.com and not the service’s much more heavily used smartphone applications.

The body found that for tiktok.com’s users, it was not as easy to refuse online trackers as to accept them. The authority also found that internet users were not sufficiently informed about TikTok’s use of the cookies.


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“These findings relate to past practices that we addressed last year, including making it easier to reject non-essential cookies and providing additional information about the purposes of certain cookies,” a spokesperson for TikTok said.

“The CNIL itself highlighted our cooperation during the course of the investigation and user privacy remains a top priority for TikTok,” the spokesperson added.

Under European Union rules, websites must clearly ask for the prior consent of internet users for any use of cookies – small pieces of data stored while navigating on the web.

They should also make it easy to refuse them, according to the EU’s rules.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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