Rokita sues TikTok in Allen Superior Court
Indiana’s public-private economic development arm is fighting off a $3 million lawsuit over a pandemic-era mask buy. (Getty Images)
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Wednesday filed two lawsuits in Fort Wayne against TikTok — both related to false claims made by the company about its video-sharing app of the same name.
“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” he said in a news release. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”
The first lawsuit alleges that TikTok has lured children onto the platform through a variety of misleading representations indicating that the app contains only “infrequent/mild” sexual content, profanity, or drug references — when in reality the app is rife with extreme examples of such material. An essential part of TikTok’s business model is presenting the application as safe and appropriate for children ages 13 to 17.
The second lawsuit claims that TikTok has reams of highly sensitive data and personal information about Indiana consumers and has deceived those consumers to believe that this information is protected from the Chinese government and Communist Party.
“In multiple ways, TikTok represents a clear and present danger to Hoosiers that is hiding in plain sight in their own pockets,” Rokita said. “At the very least, the company owes consumers the truth about the age-appropriateness of its content and the insecurity of the data it collects on users. We hope these lawsuits force TikTok to come clean and change its ways.”
Rokita is seeking an emergency injunction and civil penalties against the company.
Specifically, the suits want to stop TikTok from continuing to make any of the following representations about the app: (1) representing to consumers through their representations to the Apple App Store that the TikTok application contains “none” or only “infrequent/mild” “alcohol, tobacco, or drug references,” “sexual content or nudity,” “mature/suggestive themes,” or “profanity or crude humor” and (2) representing to consumers through their representations to the Apple App Store that the TikTok application qualifies for a “12+” age rating.
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