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January 17, 2024

Attorney General Bird Sues TikTok for Misleading Parents

DES MOINES—Today, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird sued TikTok for deceiving Iowans, particularly parents, by lying about children’s widespread access to inappropriate content on its social-media app.

“TikTok has kept parents in the dark,” said Attorney General Bird. “It’s time we shine a light on TikTok for exposing young children to graphic materials such as sexual content, self-harm, illegal drug use, and worse. TikTok has sneaked past parental blocks by misrepresenting the severity of its content. But no longer. As a mom and prosecutor, I am committed to equipping parents with information to keep their kids safe and to holding TikTok accountable.”

The lawsuit explains that TikTok:

  • Claims a “12+” rating in Apple’s App Store, despite frequent and intense adult content, including:
    • Sexual content and nudity
    • Profanity and crude humor
    • Mature and suggestive themes
    • Alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use
  • Works around parental controls on Apple devices by wrongfully rating its app “12+.”
  • Violates App Store guidelines by saying harmful content is “infrequent/mild” when it is actually “frequent/intense.”
  • Recommends inappropriate content to children as young as 13.

TikTok’s deception violates the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit aims to stop TikTok from misleading parents and users about the availability of inappropriate content on the app. It also challenges TikTok’s misleading statements about TikTok’s parental controls, both in the platform’s Community Guidelines and in the Google and Microsoft app stores.

Read the full lawsuit here.


For More Information:

Alyssa Brouillet | Communications Director

(515) 823-9112

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