The state of Indiana has filed a pair of lawsuits against the Chinese social media platform TikTok.
The lawsuits, according to Attorney General Todd Rokita, will “protect children and combat threats from China.”
“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” Attorney General Rokita said in a press release. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”
The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users. Read more: https://t.co/uaUTdSAzXd
— Todd Rokita (@AGToddRokita) December 7, 2022
According to Rokita’s office, the first lawsuit claims that TikTok is luring children to the platform “through a variety of misleading representations indicating that the app contains only ‘infrequent/mild’ sexual content, profanity, or drug references — when in reality the app is rife with extreme examples of such material.”
The lawsuit alleges that presenting the application as safe and appropriate for children as young as 13 is “an essential part of TikTok’s business model.”
TikTok currently has a 12+ rating on the Apple App Store and a “T” for “Teen” rating in the Google Play Store and the Microsoft Store.
The second lawsuit asserts that “TikTok has reams of highly sensitive data and personal information about Indiana consumers and has deceived those consumers to believe that this information is protected from the Chinese government and Communist Party.”
The lawsuit states that “TikTok says its platform is all about spreading joy. But the more TikTok videos consumers view, and the more content that they create and share, the more TikTok learns about them—their interests, their locations, the types of phones they have, the apps on their phones, who their contacts are, their facial features, their voice prints, and even ‘where your eyes are looking on your phone.'”
“In multiple ways, TikTok represents a clear and present danger to Hoosiers that is hiding in plain sight in their own pockets,” Attorney General Rokita said. “At the very least, the company owes consumers the truth about the age-appropriateness of its content and the insecurity of the data it collects on users. We hope these lawsuits force TikTok to come clean and change its ways.”
Attorney General Rokita is seeking emergency injunctive relief and civil penalties against the company. He has also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.