A lawsuit in Indiana against the Chinese-owned short-video sharing app TikTok claims hat it misleads users about China's access to their data and exposes kids to adult content.
The Republican office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita claimed in a complaint submitted on Wednesday that TikTok also misled underage users and their parents with its age classification of 12-plus in Apple's and Google's app stores. The complaint further stated that the corporation pushes inappropriate sexual and drug-related information upon youngsters who use TikTok and that such content is easily accessible.
The popular app, which ByteDance owns, allegedly breaks state consumer protection rules by failing to disclose the possibility of the Chinese government accessing private consumer information, according to the Republican office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. According to Indiana, this was a first for a U.S. state. Rokita is suing the company for civil damages and immediate injunctive remedies.
The video-sharing app claimed it had no comment on the ongoing legal dispute, according to a spokesperson. The New York Times broke the news of the lawsuit first. Indiana's action came after a day earlier emergency order from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan that forbade the use of TikTok on equipment and networks used by the state government.
According to TikTok, the worries that led to state bans were fueled mainly by false information.
"We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age-appropriateness or family comfort," TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said. "We are also confident that we're on a path in our negotiations with the U.S. government to fully satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns, and we have already made significant strides toward implementing those solutions."
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order last week prohibiting state workers and contractors from installing or using TikTok on state-owned devices, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster requested a state agency to prohibit TikTok from being used on state-owned computers and phones on Monday.
The FBI Director Chris Wray highlighted national security concerns about TikTok's U.S. activities last month, warning that the Chinese government may use the video-sharing app to influence users or take control of their devices. In 2020, former president Donald Trump tried to prevent new U.S. users from downloading WeChat and TikTok, which would have effectively stopped the usage of the apps in the country, but he lost several legal challenges in the process.
In June 2021, President Joe Biden revoked the executive orders issued by President Trump that aimed to outlaw the downloads and ordered the Commerce Department to investigate the security risks posed by the apps.