INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has filed two separate lawsuits against TikTok accusing the company of making false claims about its video-sharing app, Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Wednesday.
The first lawsuit asserts that TikTok has drawn children onto its platform through misleading representations that indicate the app contains only “infrequent/mild” sexual content, profanity and drug references. The attorney general claims TikTok 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,” stated the attorney general’s office.
Rokita is also demanding that Apple update the TikTok rating from “12+” to “17+” in its App Store and Google update the TikTok rating from “Teen” to “Mature” in the Google Play Store.
“Sexual content, profanity and drug references run rampant in TikTok videos,” Rokita said. “This kind of material threatens the mental and physical health of young Hoosiers, and not only TikTok but also vendors must make it clear to families that TikTok is wholly inappropriate for kids.”
The second lawsuit alleges that TikTok possesses a large amount of highly sensitive data and personal information about Indiana users and that the company has deceived users to believe this information is protected from the Chinese government.
“With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law,” said Rokita in a press release.
Rokita isn’t the only one that has an issue with TikTok.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines is warning parents about risks to their children’s data privacy on TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Haines said it is “extraordinary” how adept the Chinese government is at “collecting foreign data.”
When asked if parents should be worried, Haines responded, “I think you should be.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray agrees. Last month, he stated that the data of the roughly 80 million Americans on the app can be weaponized.
“There’s a number of concerns,” Wray said. “For influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices.”
Security concerns have prompted the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the military to ban TikTok from government phones. Last week, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order banning state government agencies, employees and contractors from using the app on state devices.