Indiana’s attorney general filed a number of lawsuits against TikTok on Wednesday, accusing the company of misleading users about its ties to the Chinese government and showing adult content to minors. as first reported by The New York Times.
In his first complaintAttorney General Todd Rokita alleged that TikTok misled parents about the amount of sexual and drug-related content accessible to young users of the app. In a second complaintRokita’s office argued that China-owned TikTok falsely misled users about the Chinese government’s authority to access sensitive user data obtained through the app.
“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting consumers in Indiana by a Chinese company that knows full well the harm it causes to users,” Rokita said in a statement Wednesday. “With these two lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and deceptive practices, which violate Indiana law.”
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said so The edge Wednesday that while the company does not comment on pending litigation, “the safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority.”
The Indiana suits follow a week of bad news for the popular video-sharing app. In recent days, the Republican governors of Maryland, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas have banned the use of TikTok on government devices. The US Army, Navy, and Departments of Homeland Security and State have also banned the use of the app on government-issued devices.
These bans by Republican state leaders could indicate more serious action in Washington next year, especially in the GOP-led House. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that negotiations between TikTok and the Biden administration to mitigate US national security risks were deadlocked. Officials planned to reach an agreement by the end of the year, but a deal could be even further in the offing. Without a formal agreement, Senate and House GOP leaders could push for stronger action against the company.
Responding to the national security concerns, Oberwetter said TikTok was “confident that we are moving forward in our negotiations with the U.S. government to fully address all reasonable U.S. national security concerns, and we have already made significant progress in implementing those solutions.”
Despite the wave of state action, the Indiana lawsuits mark the first time a state has sued TikTok for violating its consumer protection laws.
“In more ways than one, TikTok represents a clear and current danger to Hoosiers hiding in plain sight in their own pockets,” Rokita said Wednesday.