France fines TikTok €5m for making it hard to refuse cookies

13 Jan 2023

Image: © HTGanzo/

The CNIL said users of the TikTok website were not informed in a ‘sufficiently precise manner’ of the purposes of the different cookies.

France’s data watchdog, the CNIL, has fined TikTok €5m for shortcomings related to cookies on its desktop site.

The watchdog carried out several online investigations on the website between May and June 2022. Documents requested from TikTok were also reviewed by the CNIL as part of the investigation.

The watchdog found that TikTok Ireland and TikTok UK had failed to comply with French data protection laws and the fine was first imposed at the end of December 2022.

The CNIL said that users of could not refuse cookies as easily as they were able to accept them.

“The restricted committee considered that making the refusal mechanism more complex actually discouraged users from refusing cookies and encouraged them to prefer the ease of the ‘accept all’ button,” the CNIL wrote in a statement.

Furthermore, the watchdog said that users were not informed in a “sufficiently precise manner” of the purposes of the different cookies.

The €5m amount was decided based on the breaches identified, the number of people concerned – including minors – and the many previous communications TikTok received from the CNIL telling it to make refusing cookies as simple as accepting them.

TikTok Ireland and TikTok UK were found to be jointly responsible because “they both determine the purposes and means of the use of cookies”.

A spokesperson for TikTok told Reuters that the 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,” the spokesperson added.

In January 2022, the CNIL fined Google €150m and Facebook €60m over similar cookie policies due which meant that users on, and were not able to refuse tracking cookies as easily as they were able to accept them.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic