Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday he is launching an investigation into Chinese social media app TikTok over potential aiding of human trafficking and child privacy violations.
“Chinese-owned company TikTok may be complicit in child exploitation, sex trafficking, human trafficking, drug smuggling and other unimaginable horrors,” Paxton said in a statement Friday. “I will get to the bottom of these concerns and make sure Big Tech doesn’t interfere with the safety and security of Texans.”
Paxton issued several civil investigative demands (CIDs) to TikTok demanding the company turn over information on how it reviews sexually explicit content as well as material related to human trafficking. The Texas attorney general also requested that the company produce information detailing its interactions with law enforcement, including each time authorities have contacted TikTok over content found on its platform.
Paxton’s investigation follows 2021 revelations that cartels and human smuggling rings have used TikTok to recruit American teens to facilitate human trafficking.
“They supposedly are recruiting teenagers through TikTok, and the cartels, and using it to smuggle people, drugs,” Paxton said in an interview with Fox Business on Friday. “And it’s part of the whole infrastructure, potentially, of the cartels using the border for all kinds of profitable activities that are bad for this country.”
TikTok did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
“We’re going to find out what’s really going on because obviously, we don’t want companies participating in human smuggling, sex trafficking and drug trafficking,” Paxton told Fox Business.