Indiana sues TikTok for allegedly pushing adult content toward teens

Indiana's suits come on the same day that Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan banned TikTok, among other Chinese and Russian apps, from state devices due to security concerns.

Updated: December 7, 2022 - 6:45pm

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Indiana announced a pair of lawsuits against embattled Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok on Wednesday, alleging that the app is both pushing harmful content to age inappropriate users and that the app is deceiving customers about the security of their user data.

"TikTok is actively exposing our children to drug use, alcohol abuse, profanity and sexually explicit material at a young age," Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said, per the Wall Street Journal. "TikTok is deceiving Indiana parents."

The first suit focuses on claims that the app's algorithm is aimed at addicting younger users to its use and is pushing age inappropriate content toward them to that end. It further asserts that the company incorrectly presents itself as age appropriate for individuals aged 12 and older, violating the state's consumer-protection laws.

The second suit addresses data security concerns, alleging that the company is in the thrall of the Chinese government and that the communist dictatorship may secure access to American user data and potentially spy on or blackmail users through it.

TikTok has long faced questions about its storage of American user data and potential Chinese access to it. ByteDance, the platform's parent company, operates of out China, though TikTok itself is banned in the country. Federal officials in multiple agencies, including the FBI, and the Federal Communications Commission, have warned of the security risk the app poses. Former President Donald Trump unsuccessfully attempted to ban the app outright.

Indiana's suits come on the same day that Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan banned TikTok, among other Chinese and Russian apps, from state devices due to security concerns.

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