Utah sues TikTok over China connections, manipulating children with addictive design


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What just happened? Ever-controversial app TikTok has been sued by the state of Utah over allegations it deliberately misleads people over its relationship with Chinese parent ByteDance and harms children with its "addictive nature."

In the suit, filed by Utah's Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP), Attorney General Sean Reyes accuses TikTok of violating Utah's consumer laws by deploying and marketing "an addictive product with design features intended to manipulate children." It's also accused of misrepresenting the safety of the app and deceptively claiming it "can effectively maintain a safe digital environment for children," as well as claiming it's a US-based company when it is actually controlled by ByteDance in China.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said TikTok "illegally baits children into addictive and unhealthy use," encouraging them to scroll indefinitely so advertisers can make more money. The lawsuit compares the app to a slot machine, where the dopamine rush compels users to continue swiping up to see new videos. This is said to be particularly harmful to the "not-yet-fully-developed" brain of young users and can create a dependence on the app.

"What these children (and their parents) do not know is that TikTok is lying to them about the safety of its app and exploiting them into checking and watching the app compulsively, no matter the terrible effects it has on their mental health, their physical development, their family, and their social life," the complaint states.

A recent study found that most teens spend almost two hours each day on TikTok, which was by far the most popular platform among those aged 11 to 17.

Utah has been cracking down hard on social media as it looks to protect minors from the platforms' harmful effects. Cox signed two new laws earlier this year that include blocking under-18s from using social media between 10:30 pm and 6:30 am, reminiscent of China's curfew on the same age group that limits their online gaming time to 3 hours per week. However, parents or guardians would be able to change the times.

Furthermore, the new law would require social media owners like Meta to gain a parent's permission before a teen could create an account on a platform. Companies would also be barred "from using a design or feature that causes a minor to have an addiction to the company's social media platform," something TikTok is accused of, and companies would be required to give parents access to their kids' posts, messages, and responses.

Montana has gone even further than Utah by banning TikTok for everyone in the state, though the company is trying to get the decision overturned in court.

A survey of over 1,000 people in August found that almost half somewhat support banning the use of TikTok in the United States.

h/t: CNBC

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I'm no social media advocate, but how long before we move from calling them allegations to "We can prove it?"

Also, I'm all for government intervention when necessary, but what a kid does on a phone the parents are paying for should be already known by the parents. Just like they should already know what is being taught to their kids at school before and during each school year.
Thic thoc western version is a toxic platform, even CCP does not let their own people to be on it.
"manipulating children with addictive design"

Now plz sue all the Gacha games cr@p and lootboxes etc etc...
So GOP-controlled state governments are banning an entire platform.

When Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) informed Twitter that the Az voter reg system is not (!) hosted overseas, Twitter decided to remove two tweets claiming it is.

The GOP went nuts...

Trump said Hobbs “censored her political opponents.” Tucker Carlson called it "A crime against our democracy". Kari Lake said "Hobbs war on political dissent and the First Amendment has ... begun... Hold this petty tyrant accountable". Az GOP chief Kelli Ward said "Bombshell ! Hobbs ... used state resources [coordinating w Biden admin] to remove posts on her behalf.” Rep. Marjorie Greene said “Hobbs used the power of the AZ SoS to ... violate 1st Amendment ... for her own political gain. This is communism and Hobbs can not be governor. I’m calling for a Federal investigation.”

I'm not defending Tik-Tok - just wondering when Greene, Lake, Ward, and Trump et al will do so, because this platform ban is orders of magnitude more repressive.
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Their people are on it, but it operates under a different name and the content pushed towards users is wildly different than what is promoted outside China. China's content is mostly educational and limits what passes for TikTok content.
Yeah, there are those that are allowed to be on it to spread their propagandas.
Aren't all social media platforms addictive?
I do not like TikTok, but it seems to me
any social media platform is guilty of
making little addicts
TikToc is the CCP's psychological war on the West (more so on the U.S.) and it seems to be working. Let stupidity destroy the U.S.
Aren't all social media platforms addictive?
I do not like TikTok, but it seems to me
any social media platform is guilty of
making little addicts
Absolutely. They all engage in manipulating people to engage more with their platform to drive engagement. I don't have an issue with it at the adult level, because adults should be cognizant enough to see it and resist if they want to. Children aren't, but the parents should be controlling what their kids access and how much. If I had kids, they wouldn't touch most social media until they were 18 and what little they did have access to would be limited on any devices under my control.