Utah Is Suing TikTok to “Save the Children From Addiction”

By: Ben Campbell | Last updated: Nov 22, 2023

The popular social media app TikTok has come under scrutiny on various occasions over the past few years, and now one American state is taking it to the next level.

The state of Utah sued TikTok this past month, claiming that the popular social media platform intentionally aims to keep children and teens on the app for unhealthy amounts of time. 

TikTok, Social Media or Addictive Manipulation?

TikTok has become one of the world’s most popular social media apps over the last five years. Users upload videos of their daily lives, and some amass over a million followers. 


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However, over the past few years, concern has been raised by lawmakers and government officials in the United States about potential motives being pushed by the Chinese social media app. Some states have now decided to take matters into their own hands.  


Utah Is Taking a Stance Against TikTok

Utah’s lawsuit against TikTok is the most recent in a string of lawsuits by various groups who have voiced their concern against the popular app. 


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Over the past year, the United States government and Congress have debated creating a set of laws that would enable them to restrict or even ban TikTok amid concerns of potential spying and the selling of data. 

A Popular Attorney Gives His Opinion

TikTok has become a regular talking point among some of the United States’ most respected figures. 


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One Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes, claims in a recent filing that the app is lying to parents and children. 

More Than Meets the Eye

He said: “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.”


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“The attorney general continued, no matter the terrible effects it has on their mental health, their physical development, their family, and their social life.”

TikTok Denies the Claims

The popular video-sharing app is owned by the ByteDance corporation, which has recently spoken out against the claims. 

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A spokesperson denied the allegations made by the Utah attorney before trying to assure its 150 million American users that it does not improperly use and sell their data.


Manipulation of Americans

The lawsuit filed against the social media platform by the Utah attorneys explains in fine detail how TikTok manipulates millions of Americans. 

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They said, “Highly powerful algorithms and manipulative design features, many of which mimic features of slot machines,” are manipulative tactics and lead to addictive tendencies for many young users.


Utah Seeks Civil Penalties

The state of Utah is seeking civil penalties and wants to ensure that the manipulative behavior is removed entirely or else ban the app outright. 

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In order to do this, they propose to force TikTok to adhere to state laws that aim to protect consumers from any kind of deceptive business practices. 


Not the Only State Taking Action

The lawsuit being brought forth by Utah is similar to another recently brought against TikTok last December by the state of Indiana. 

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Arkansas soon followed suit in March. They sought legal action against TikTok and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, for pushing the addictive platforms on the younger generations. 


Montana the First to Ban TikTok

Back in April, Montana became the first state to completely ban TikTok. The official ban is set to begin on the first of January. 

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According to state legislatures, the ban was approved over various concerns about the app and its capabilities to spy on American citizens and potentially government officials. 


Republican Lawmakers Saw This Coming

A surprising amount of lawsuits taken against the social media giant seem to be the final step in a process started by Republican lawmakers in 2022. 

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During their initial proposal to limit TikTok in the nation, the lawmakers said, “Many children are exposed to non-stop offerings of inappropriate content that TikTok’s algorithm force-feeds to them.”


What Does the Future Hold for TikTok?

It’s unsure what the future holds for TikTok in America. Many states are following suit with Utah, and over the next few years, we may see outright bans on the app. 

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While various global companies now own TikTok, United States lawmakers and officials can’t help but feel it’s in the best interest of Americans to limit their use of such apps.