Arkansas Attorney General Continues Sparring With TikTok in Court

The Arkansas Attorney General’s office continues to spar with social media giants in state court.

This year the A.G.’s team filed multiple lawsuits alleging Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok violated Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Two of the lawsuits are against ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok. A third lawsuit is against Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.

Earlier this month lawyers with the attorney general’s office filed an amended complaint in one of the lawsuits against TikTok further alleging the social media giant promotes “intensely sexualized” content to users — including content that sexualizes minors.

The A.G.’s team writes:

Recent reporting by Forbes magazine even demonstrates that child sexual abuse material (also known as “child pornography”) is available and promoted on TikTok. While TikTok purports to remove such content when it is posted for other users to see on TikTok, some accounts get around this removal by posting child sexual abuse material “privately” so that only the account user can see the material.

The lawsuit also highlights flaws with TikTok’s filter — called “Restricted Mode” — intended to block inappropriate content.

The A.G.’s complaint says:

Even for those users who do have Restricted Mode enabled, the setting fails to prevent mature content from being visible to young users; on TikTok, a vast library of intense sexual content, intense suggestive content, intense drug, alcohol, and tobacco content, and intense profanity is available to users with Restricted Mode turned on.

Despite these serious problems — which Attorney General Griffin’s team argues TikTok could fix — TikTok continues to market its social media app as being appropriate for ages 13 and up.

It’s good to see the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office proactively working to stop tech giants like TikTok and Facebook from harming children. Family Council will continue to monitor and report on each of these lawsuits in the coming months.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

TikTok Asks Court to Dismiss A.G.’s Lawsuit Over Alleged Deceptive Trade Practices Violation

On Friday TikTok asked a court in Union County to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges the social media platform violated Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

With an estimated one billion users worldwide and 135 million in the U.S., TikTok is considered by some to be the most popular social media platform in the world.

In March Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office filed a lawsuit against Chinese-based company ByteDance — the company that owns TikTok — in Union County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit alleges TikTok violated Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Among other things, the lawsuit argues that TikTok failed to fully disclose that TikTok is subject to Chinese law — including “laws that mandate secret cooperation with intelligence activities of the People’s Republic of China.”

The lawsuit also alleges that TikTok “routinely exposes Arkansas consumers’ data, without their knowledge, to access and exploitation by the Chinese Government and Communist Party” and that “TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has admitted to using data gathered through TikTok to surveil Americans.”

The A.G.’s complaint asks the court to stop TikTok’s actions and award the state up to $10,000 per violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The attorney general has filed similar lawsuits in Polk County Circuit Court and Cleburne County Circuit Court against Facebook and TikTok respectively for other alleged violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Pactices Act. TikTok and Facebook have asked the courts to dismiss those lawsuits as well.

TikTok’s motion to dismiss the case in Union County alleges that the A.G.’s lawsuit fails to establish jurisdiction over TikTok and fails to “allege any facts that, when properly taken as true, establish a claim for relief.”

You can read more about these lawsuits here.