Indiana is the first state in the U.S. to sue China-owned TikTok over child safety and data security concerns.
According to the New York Times, Indiana filed two lawsuits against TikTok for failing to protect underage users from sexual and drug-related content on its platform.
The state attorney also accused the social media app of deceiving the public about its data protection.
Children as young as 5 are exposed to sexual and drug-related content on TikTok daily, said the state’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, who announced the lawsuits on Wednesday.
“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,” Rokita said in statement. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”
Rokita says TikTok “lured children onto the platform” with a “12+” age rating on the App Store and Google Play. He said children can easily access sexual and drug-related content on the app.
TikTok was launched in 2016 by Chinese technology company ByteDance Ltd. The app is the most popular social media platform in the world with 210 million downloads in the United States. Americans between the ages of 10 to 19 make up 32.9 percent of the users on TikTok.
Rokita also said TikTok shares user data with the Chinese government. However, TikTok has repeatedly denied sharing user data with Chinese officials.