Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed two lawsuits against popular video-sharing app TikTok on Wednesday, Dec. 7, alleging the app violates state consumer protection and child safety laws.
In the lawsuit, Rokita claimed TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, deceives users about the Chinese government’s potential access to sensitive consumer information.
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Rokita’s office also stated in a separate lawsuit that TikTok exposes minors to inappropriate sexual and substance-related content. According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, TikTok “presents the application as safe and appropriate for children ages 13 to 17” by giving the app a 12-plus age rating on Apple and Google app stores. The press release stated that the app has extreme examples of sexual content, profanity or drug references, which can be easily accessed by young users.
Rokita is seeking civil penalties against TikTok up to $5,000 per security or child safety violation and emergency injunctive relief.
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The lawsuit from the Indiana Attorney General’s office follows an emergency directive issued Dec. 6 by Maryland Govenor Larry Hogan which prohibited the use of TikTok on state government devices and networks. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, Texas governor Greg Abbott ordered state agencies to ban employees from using the video-sharing app on government-issued devices. South Carolina and South Dakota also banned the use of TikTok on government devices this past week.
FBI Director Chris Wray has recently raised national security concerns surrounding the use of the social-media platform too, stating Dec. 2 the FBI is concerned about China’s ability to control the app’s recommendation algorithm.