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The state of Indiana on Wednesday sued video app TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, for allegedly allowing the Chinese government access to user data for spying missions.
In a statement, Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita (R), explained that the app violates state law by failing to inform users that the Chinese Communist Party government could use its power to force ByteDance to provide it with user data.
In a second lawsuit, Rokita further accused TikTok of using an algorithm that is designed to create addiction in young users and that promotes “harmful” content that is not age-appropriate.
In 2019, as part of his strategy of increasing pressure on China, then President Donald Trump gave TikTok an ultimatum to transfer its operations to American companies if it did not want to be banned in the country, an ultimatum that went ignored by the Biden administration.
TikTok has more than 100 million users in the United States and has quickly become one of the most popular social networks worldwide, especially among teenagers.
The Senate Intelligence Committee in July asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Chinese authorities are accessing American user data through the TikTok app.
The letter, signed by committee chairman Mark Warner and vice chairman Marco Rubio, urged the Commission to study in detail the use that Chinese engineers and officials might make of the data collected by TikTok and its owner, China’s ByteDance.