Utah sued TikTok over its alleged harmful impacts on children and deception about its connections to China through its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
The lawsuit alleges that TikTok misled consumers about its safety and that it causes substantial mental harm to children due to its addictive nature. It also alleges that the app has been deceptive about the extent of ByteDance’s influence in order to evade suspicion and regulation.
Social media companies are illegally baiting our children into addictive and unhealthy use of their platforms. Today we announced a lawsuit against TikTok for that exact reason. This action follows the landmark legislation we signed requiring social media companies to protect…
— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) October 10, 2023
“What these children (and their parents) do not know is that TikTok is lying to them about the safety of its app and exploiting them into checking and watching the app compulsively, no matter the terrible effects it has on their mental health, their physical development, their family, and their social life,” the lawsuit reads.
“To avoid scrutiny from its users (and regulators), TikTok has also misled Utah consumers about the degree to which TikTok remains enmeshed with and under the control of ByteDance, its China-based parent company,” it also asserts.
ByteDance allegedly strives to block possible critics of the Chinese government from using its platforms, including TikTok, according to a recent report by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center.
“TikTok designed and employs algorithm features that spoon-feed kids endless, highly curated content from which our children struggle to disengage,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said at a press conference about the lawsuit, accordingto the Associated Press. “TikTok designed these features to mimic a cruel slot machine that hooks kids’ attention and does not let them go.”
Indiana also sued TikTok over allegedly lying about its safety and its harm to children in 2022.
TikTok, ByteDance and Utah’s attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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