TikTok has pointed to its places of work in Los Angeles and Singapore as proof of its independence and has mentioned the Chinese language authorities has by no means tried to entry knowledge of U.S. customers. The corporate spent greater than $4.2 million within the first three quarters of the yr lobbying lawmakers and the White Home to fend off rising scrutiny.
TikTok’s chief govt, Shou Zi Chew, has additionally been on a attraction offensive to assuage critics. He has mentioned that the information of U.S. customers could be hosted on servers managed by the American cloud computing firm Oracle and disputes that the Chinese language authorities may entry that knowledge.
Indiana’s lawyer normal mentioned these assurances weren’t credible as a result of Chinese language legislation offers the federal government the authority to demand knowledge from a U.S. affiliate. TikTok has promised to ultimately delete all “protected” knowledge of U.S. customers from TikTok techniques, however the swimsuit mentioned it was not clear what certified as “protected” knowledge.
By not disclosing the dangers of China’s entry, the corporate is deceiving shoppers, the swimsuit mentioned. In Europe, TikTok discloses that person knowledge will be accessed by people outdoors Europe, together with these in China. Suspicions stay about TikTok’s historical past of sharing knowledge and engineering assets with ByteDance, the lawyer normal mentioned.
“TikTok knowingly misled and deceived Indiana shoppers, and continues to take action,” the grievance mentioned. “If the Chinese language authorities or Chinese language Communist Celebration need entry to TikTok’s U.S. person knowledge, they will get it.”
The second grievance described TikTok, which is fashionable for younger individuals, as a “Trojan Horse” that lures youngsters by way of its advertising and marketing as a secure utility for these a minimum of 12 years of age, however then topics them to inappropriate sexual and alcohol- and drug-related content material. TikTok’s coverage assertion that there’s “rare” or “delicate” mature content material on the app belies the abundance of troubling content material that’s simply accessible to younger customers, the swimsuit mentioned.
TikTok has launched a characteristic that enables dad and mom to hyperlink their account to their kids’s, to allow them to management what their youngsters see on the app and the way a lot time they’re spending on it. However even on “Restricted” mode, a characteristic meant to dam sure mature content material, sexually specific content material can nonetheless attain younger customers, the grievance mentioned. Many state attorneys normal are anticipated to put in writing letters to Apple and Google to request that their app shops increase the age steerage for customers of TikTok to be a minimum of 17, mentioned an individual with data of the efforts.
“TikTok is Joe Camel on steroids,” the grievance mentioned.