Utah Sues TikTok Over Alleged Child Addiction and Deceptive Ties to China

Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP) has filed a lawsuit against TikTok, accusing the platform of having an “addictive nature” that negatively impacts children. The lawsuit also alleges that TikTok deceptively hides its association with its parent company, ByteDance, based in China.

Quick Facts

  • Allegations: TikTok is accused of misleading parents about the app’s safety for children and promoting addictive behavior among young users to increase advertising revenue.
  • Legal Grounds: The lawsuit claims that TikTok breaches the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act (UCSPA) by making the app addictive for children, misrepresenting its safety and policies, and falsely stating its US base, distancing from ByteDance’s control in China.
  • Other US Challenges: TikTok faces similar legal challenges in other states, including Indiana and Maryland, and a ban in Montana, which TikTok is contesting.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, in a press release, criticized TikTok for giving parents a false sense of security regarding the app’s safety for children. He emphasized that the platform lures children into unhealthy and addictive usage patterns, primarily to boost its advertising profits.

Other states have also taken legal action against TikTok. Indiana’s lawsuit against the platform mirrors the allegations made by Utah. A school district in Maryland has sued TikTok and other tech giants, blaming them for contributing to students’ mental health issues. Additionally, Montana has imposed a ban on TikTok, which the company is currently challenging in court.

Furthermore, Utah has recently passed legislation mandating parental consent for children’s use of social media platforms. This move aligns with a broader trend in the US towards regulating and censoring online content.

The UDCP’s lawsuit seeks a jury trial and requests the court to prohibit TikTok from violating the UCSPA. The lawsuit also demands TikTok to cover the UDCP’s legal expenses, pay “restitution and damages exceeding $300,000,” and an additional $300,000 in civil penalties.

Original article source: The Verge

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