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The Indiana Daily Student

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Judge dismisses Indiana Attorney General Rokita’s lawsuit against TikTok

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An Allen County Superior Court Judge dismissed the State of Indiana’s lawsuit against popular video sharing app TikTok on Nov. 29.  

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed two separate lawsuits against TikTok and its parent company Byte Dance in December 2022 alleging TikTok violated state consumer protection and child safety laws. 

According to a press release from the Attorney General's Office, Rokita alleged TikTok exposes children to sexual content, profanity and drug references. Rokita sought civil penalties against TikTok up to $5,000 per security or child safety violation and emergency injunctive relief.  

This was the first time a state has sued the platform. Shortly after Rokita filed the lawsuit, Montana's Attorney General Austin Knudsen imposed a statewide ban on TikTok. However, a federal judge in Montana halted the ban Nov. 30. Similar lawsuits are pending in Arkansas and Utah.  

Dozens of states including Indiana are also suing Instagram's parent company Meta over the addictive features that harm youth mental health.  

Last December, TikTok's lawyers arguedthe state court had no jurisdiction to rule on the case because it cannot prove the app is specifically targeting Indiana residents and the charges should fall under federal jurisdiction.  

In June, TikTok's lawyers requested the case be moved to federal court , but U.S. District Court Judge Holly Brady denied the request, stating the federal court would not take jurisdiction of the complaint. 

According to court documents, TikTok has approximately 100 million users in the United States.  

Almost a year after Rokita filed the lawsuit, Allen County Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote ruled TikTok has not violated Indiana’s laws and the court does not have jurisdiction over TikTok, according to court documents.  

DeGroote ruled that, because the app is free to download, it does not violate Indiana consumer transaction law. Additionally, DeGroote ruled that TikTok's statements were not deceptive as a matter of law.  

According to Indiana Capital Chronicle, Rokita’s office is considering appellate options.  

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