Attorneys general (AGs) from 15 states have demanded Apple and Google increase the age-appropriate rating for Chinese video app TikTok on their respective online stores. They called on the two tech giants to readjust the app’s rating from “teen” to “mature” or face potential legal action.
The almost-identical letters, sent Dec. 13 to the Cupertino, California-based Apple and the Mountain View, California-based Google, were penned by Montana AG Austin Knudsen. They were co-signed by AGs from 14 other states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Currently, the Apple App Store deems TikTok as appropriate for users aged 12 and up. Google’s Play Store, meanwhile, labels the Chinese video app as “T” – meaning teen-appropriate.
“Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up,” according to the companies’ websites. They warned, however, that content on TikTok “may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.”
The current ratings are unsatisfactory, the top state attorneys argued in their letters, as the content available on TikTok goes well beyond those guidelines. They also mentioned that the app is not suitable for children younger than 17 years old.
“The TikTok app contains frequent and intense alcohol, tobacco and drug use references, sexual content, profanity and mature/suggestive themes,” the AGs pointed out. “The TikTok app can only plausibly qualify for an ‘M’ for ‘Mature’ rating.” They added that both tech giants are partly responsible for any harm caused by the alleged mislabeling of TikTok.
The move came amid growing pressure on TikTok by state governments over alleged deceptive practices and data security. Given this, several state governments prohibited the app on government-owned communication devices.
Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Alabama and Utah have banned the app on public sector devices. Outside the U.S., Taiwan is the only country that has banned TikTok in government-owned devices as of writing.
The AGs wrote in their letters that both Apple and Google share “the responsibility to ensure that apps like TikTok display an accurate age rating to consumers.”
“When parents are deceived into letting their kids download TikTok, there are real consequences. Exposure to drug, alcohol, and tobacco content on social media makes kids more likely to use or experiment with those illicit substances in real life. [Meanwhile], exposure to sexual content on TikTok can lead to pornography addiction and even the sexual exploitation of kids by online predators.”
The AGs concluded that if Apple and Google do not change their age ratings for TikTok on their respective app stores, they reserve the right to take legal action against both companies.
Requests for comment sent to both Apple and Google went unanswered, alongside a similar request sent to the Bejing-based ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.
The Dec. 13 letters followed two lawsuits filed by Indiana AG Todd Rokita against TikTok on Dec. 8. Rokita, a signatory in the letters to Google and Apple, accused the Chinese app of luring children to the platform with deceptive messaging about the content there. He also accused TikTok of misleading customers regarding the safety of their personal information, as the Chinese Communist Party actually has access to their data. (Related: Indiana sues Tiktok over consumer data access and sexual content.)
“TikTok is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” stated court documents related to the Dec. 8 lawsuits. “As long as TikTok is permitted to deceive and mislead Indiana consumers about the risks to their data, those consumers and their privacy are easy prey.”
Head over to BigTech.news for more stories about Apple, Google and TikTok.
Watch this G News report about Brendan Carr, commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, urging Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores.
This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.
Alabama, Utah ban TikTok on state-owned devices over security concerns.
Taiwan bans TikTok from government devices, mulls nationwide prohibition.
FEMBOYS: How Chinese-controlled TikTok is enabling pedophilia and gender bending.
Parents not comfortable allowing their children to use Chinese app TikTok, poll reveals.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem bans TikTok on state-owned devices, citing app’s intelligence gathering operations.
Sources include:Submit a correction >>