TikTok’s Trials and Tribulations Mount

Gabby Miller is staff writer at Tech Policy Press. Shutterstock The popular video sharing app TikTok, which is owned by the China-based parent company ByteDance, has come under increased scrutiny in the past year over security and privacy concerns, as well as fears that the app’s algorithms and design may harm mental health, especially for children and teens. Over the course of the last week, there were multiple legal developments in state and federal courts that may affect the platform’s future. The Utah Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP) launched a lawsuit against the company, a California judge greenlit a slew of claims against TikTok and other tech giants, and a challenge to a law banning TikTok in Montana had its first hearing in court. Utah says TikTok is “surreptitiously designed” Last Tuesday, Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP) sued TikTok over its “surreptitiously designed” video sharing app. The Utah regulator claims that TikTok uses features to hook young users and mislead parents about the app’s dangers to children’s mental health and well-being. The regulator alleges “the social media giant illegally baits children into addictive and unhealthy use, blatantly misrepresents the app’s safety, and deceptively portrays itself as independent of its China-based parent company ByteDance.”  At a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Utah’s Republican Governor, Spencer Cox, promised the state will hold social media companies accountable “by any means necessary.” The lawsuit references the actions of other regulators around the world, including a $368 million fine levied against TikTok by Ireland’s…TikTok’s Trials and Tribulations Mount