TikTok Sued For Misleading Users About Child Safety And Data Security

Following a revelation in The New York Times, Indiana’s attorney general filed two lawsuits against TikTok on Wednesday, accusing the firm of exposing adult content to children and misleading users about its ties to the Chinese government.

Attorney General Todd Rokita’s initial complaint alleged that TikTok lied to parents about the prevalence of sexual and drug-related content available to young users of the app. Rokita’s office filed a second complaint, alleging that TikTok, owned by a Chinese company, lied to its customers about whether or not the Chinese government has access to their private information.

Rokita stated in a statement released on Wednesday that the Chinese firm behind the TikTok app is aware of the problems it causes to its users but has still released it nevertheless. We filed these actions to compel TikTok to end its unlawful and misleading business practices in Indiana.

Brooke Oberwetter, a representative for TikTok, told The Verge on Wednesday that while the business does not comment on any lawsuits, “the safety, privacy, and security of our community is our top priority.”

The Indiana lawsuits come after a week of negative press for the video-sharing service. Republican governors in Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas have recently banned TikTok from government computers and mobile devices. The United States Army, Navy, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State have prohibited the use of the app on government-issued devices.

These prohibitions by Republican governors and legislatures could foreshadow more significant action next year from the Republican-controlled Congress and House. As The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, talks between TikTok and the Biden administration to reduce threats to U.S. national security have stalled. Though a deal was expected by year’s end, it now appears that it may be further off. Without an official agreement, Republican leaders in the Senate and House may try to press for more severe measures on the company.

Oberwetter stated that in light of national security concerns, TikTok was “confident that we’re on a path in our conversations with the U.S. Government to satisfy any reasonable U.S. national security concerns fully, and we’ve already made considerable progress in implementing those solutions.”

There has been a frenzy of state action, but only Indiana has filed a complaint against TikTok for allegedly breaking its consumer protection laws.

On Wednesday, Rokita said that Hoosiers should be aware that the “clear and present danger” posed by TikTok was right in their pockets.

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