The Data Protection Commission of Ireland, which serves as the lead EU regulator for several of the world’s largest internet companies due to the location of their regional headquarters, has the authority to levy fines of up to 4% of global revenue.
The European Union’s lead data privacy authority has initiated two investigations against TikTok, a Chinese-owned short-video platform, related to the processing of children’s personal data and data transfers to China.
In August, TikTok announced stricter privacy controls for teenagers in response to criticism that the app had failed to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has exploded in popularity 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 investigation will look into TikTok’s personal data transfers to China and whether the company complies with EU data protection laws when transferring personal data to countries outside the bloc, according to the statement.
Under the EU’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR), Ireland’s data watchdog levied a record 225 million euro ($265.64 million) fine on Facebook’s WhatsApp earlier this month.
Other European regulators have criticised the watchdog for the speed with which it conducts investigations and the severity with which it imposes punishments.
At the end of last year, the Irish regulator had 27 international inquiries open, including 14 investigating into Facebook and its subsidiaries.