Indiana Sues TikTok For Targeting Young Teens

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Indiana has filed a pair of lawsuits against TikTok alleging that the company made false claims about inappropriate content and data security, according to a Wednesday press release.

“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,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said.

“With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law,” Rokita added.

The Indiana Attorney General’s first lawsuit alleges TikTok has “lured children onto the platform through a variety of misleading representations” of its content, the press release reads.

The press release also claims that the platform features “extreme examples” of material such as sexual content, drug references and profanity, despite TikTok “presenting the application as safe and appropriate for children ages 13 to 17.”

Marketing itself as safe for young teens is “an essential part of TikTok’s business model,” the press release alleges. In 2021, the platform had 86.9 million U.S. users, with over a quarter of them aged 13-17, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.

The second lawsuit alleges that TikTok possesses highly sensitive information about Indiana consumers and “has deceived those consumers to believe that this information is protected from the Chinese government and Communist Party,” the press release stated. (RELATED: State Dept Dodges Daily Caller Reporter’s Question On CCP Election Interference Through TikTok)

China-based employees of TikTok have allegedly accessed non-public data about U.S. users on multiple occasions, contradicting sworn testimony by a top executive, Buzzfeed reported. A similar report from Forbes claimed that a China-based team at TikTok parent company Bytedance planned on using the app to monitor U.S. citizens.

“While we don’t comment on pending litigation, the safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority. 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,” a TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Caller.

“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,” the company spokesperson added.

TikTok’s negotiations with the Biden administration over a national security agreement have been delayed due to additional concerns raised by U.S. officials. The Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is reviewing the national security implications of TikTok operating in the United States.

A spokesperson for the Indiana Attorney General’s office pointed the Caller to legal filings attached in the press release in response to a request for comment.
James Lynch

James Lynch can be reached on Twitter @jameslynch32