Arkansas Circuit Court Deals Another Blow to TikTok

This week an Arkansas circuit court dealt another blow against social media giant TikTok.

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. However, last year Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin filed two lawsuits accusing TikTok of violating Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

One of the lawsuits — filed in Cleburne County — alleges the social media giant violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act by promoting “intensely sexualized” content — including content that sexualizes children — on its platform.

The other lawsuit — filed in Union County — alleges that TikTok failed to fully disclose that the platform is subject to Chinese law — including “laws that mandate secret cooperation with intelligence activities of the People’s Republic of China.”

The Union County 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.”

On Monday, the Union County Circuit Judge denied TikTok’s request to dismiss the lawsuit — meaning the A.G.’s legal team can continue pursuing legal action against the platform.

In a statement, Attorney General Griffin said, “I applaud the court’s decision to allow our lawsuit against TikTok and ByteDance to proceed. This marks the third time this year that a lawsuit I have brought against a social media platform has cleared this important legal hurdle.”

Social media platforms aren’t just websites. These are multimillion dollar businesses owned and operated by investors and other interests.

As we have said before, there’s mounting evidence that social media platforms like TikTok put users’ personal information at risk and are actually designed to push objectionable content to users.

With that in mind, it’s good to see the A.G.’s office taking action to protect Arkansans online.

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

Court Lets Arkansas Pursue Lawsuit Against Facebook, Instagram

Last week a Polk County Circuit Court judge issued a decision letting the State of Arkansas proceed with its lawsuit against social media giant Meta — the company that owns Facebook and Instagram.

In a statement released Thursday, Attorney General Griffin said,

“This is a victory for the citizens of Arkansas, especially our children, whom Meta has misled about the addictive and harmful consequences of using Meta’s platforms. The court’s order makes clear that the State of Arkansas has the right to sue Meta in state court under our state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Silicon Valley has now been served a message that their profits cannot be built on the backs of Arkansas’s youth.

“I thank and congratulate the members of my team who are working on this suit and similar ones across the state, especially Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ford, who argued against Meta’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit in April.”

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office filed a lawsuit against Meta in Polk County Circuit Court more than a year ago alleging the company has misled the public about the safety and addictiveness of its social media platforms.

The lawsuit argues Facebook structured its platform “to exploit multiple neuropsychological traits in youth.”

It notes that Facebook and Instagram are built around algorithms intentionally designed “to exploit human psychology and foster addiction to maximize users’ screen time.”

The A.G.’s legal complaint says this exploitation is especially true of young users with developing brains.

The lawsuit also says that, “youth mental health problems have advanced in lockstep with the growth of social media platforms that have been deliberately designed to attract and addict youth by amplifying harmful material, dosing users with dopamine hits, and thereby driving youth engagement and advertising revenue.”

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Meta violated Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act by designing and marketing “dangerous social media platforms that have injured the health, comfort, and repose of the State’s community” and fueled the current youth mental health crisis.

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