The government backlash against Chinese-owned social media app TikTok keeps growing. South Carolina joined a coalition of 47 states this week asking a state court in Tennessee to force the wildly popular video-sharing platform to comply with an investigation into alleged consumer protection law violations.
At issue is whether the internet behemoth engaged in deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable conduct that harmed the mental health of TikTok users – particularly children and teens.
To find out, investigators want to see internal documents and other communications within the company.
“We know using TikTok can hurt our children, which is why we’re investigating, and the company cannot avoid accountability by refusing to give us the information they’re required to,” S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson said. “Like other businesses, Tik Tok needs to learn responsibility and concern for the harm caused to children.”
But Tik Tok officials are digging in their heels, refusing to cooperate with the multi-state probe headed by Tennessee attorney general Jonathan Skrmetti and Colorado attorney general Phil Weiser.
So, the coalition of attorneys general from nearly every state in the union is formally asking the Tennessee court to order Tik Tok to provide the requested materials.
The TikTok platform is owned by parent company ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing. Just last month, data released by the group Open Secrets revealed ByteDance was the fourth-largest internet company in spending on federal lobbying in 2022.
Last December, S.C. governor Henry McMaster asked for TikTok to be blocked from all state government electronic devices managed by the South Carlina Department of Administration. A similar ban was imposed at the federal level last year.
Government officials have questioned whether China’s ownership of TikTok presents both a national security concern and fears over the privacy of its U.S. users. Other states joining the amicus brief are the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, as well as the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I mean, the US government doesn’t care that everything you do is monitored, collected, categorized, marketed, sold, traded, compiled into various databases for public and private entities to do with however they please. They don’t care if your privacy is made a joke or the security of your devices are compromised as that’s the intended goal. The only real complaint here is that China is getting the information.
Fear not, the moment Eastasia can no longer obtain your information, then you will truly be free!*
Should have listened to orange julius 4 yeaars ago. You get what you vote for