TikTok faces massive fine for insufficient cookie opt-out information

TikTok logo
(Image credit: ByteDance)

The body behind data protection in France - Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) - has issued a €5 million fine against TikTok UK and TikTok Ireland for failing to provide sufficient information about cookie usage on its site.

Following a series of sessions forming part of an investigation against TikTok’s online web platform (not the app), in an unlogged capacity, it was found that TikTok was failing to offer a clear enough option to opt out of cookie usage, despite offering a one-click solution to opt in, thus discouraging users from opting out.

The investigation that took place between May 2020 and June 2022 also found that the purpose of cookies on the site was not precise enough on the first-level information banner, nor was it sufficient when users clicked on a link within that banner. 

TikTok cookies

Several breaches of Article 82 of the Data Protection Act were found, which Bleeping Computer reports aligns with the GDPR that’s in place in the EU, leading to the CNIL issuing TikTok with a fine of €5 million. 

The sum of the fine was reportedly founded on “the basis of the breaches identified, the number of people concerned - including minors - and the numerous previous communications from the CNIL on the fact that it must be as simple to refuse cookies as to accept them”, according to an extract from the CNIL website. 

The CNIL has been challenging the online practices of many other companies in recent months, issuing an €8 million fine to Apple over App Store ads, a hefty €60 million fine to Microsoft over cookie collection, and a further €800,000 fine to Discord over a failure to comply with certain GDPR regulations, all of which since November 2022. 

A TikTok spokesperson told TechRadar Pro:

"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. The CNIL itself highlighted our cooperation during the course of the investigation and user privacy remains a top priority for TikTok."

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!