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Ohio Foreclosure Defense & Consumer Law > Blog > Consumer Law > TikTok Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuit In Iowa. Could Other States Follow Suit?

TikTok Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuit In Iowa. Could Other States Follow Suit?


Iowa’s Attorney General has filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against the social media site, TikTok, alleging that the site makes adult content available to children, bypasses parental control features, and inappropriately rates the app for ages 12 and up. The Iowa AG accuses TikTok of exposing children to graphic materials such as sexual content, self-harm, illegal drug abuse, and more. She claims that TikTok has “sneaked past” parental blocks by misrepresenting the severity of its content. She hopes to hold TikTok accountable for exposing children to such content.

According to the lawsuit, TikTok rated its own app deceptively so that it could get around parental controls on Apple devices. This, the lawsuit claims, violates app store guidelines. TikTok claims its harmful content is “infrequent/mild.”

TikTok has a 12+ rating in online app stores despite frequently exposing its users to adult content, nudity, profanity, crude humor, mature and suggestive themes, alcohol and tobacco use, and illegal drug use. The AG contends that the app exposes children as young as 13 to inappropriate content.

What kind of content are children being exposed to on TikTok? 

According to the lawsuit, an investigation revealed that children as young as 13 years old were exposed to content such as how to make “jungle juice” and other highly alcoholic drinks, including those intended to mask the flavor of alcohol. They are also exposed to sexual content such as women dancing provocatively in thong bikinis, including close-up butt and crotch shots. Further, they are exposed to content giving advice and encouragement on how to use marijuana, vaping devices, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and other illegal drug content. The lawsuit cites videos filmed inside of schools set to music with “extremely profane lyrics” and explicit sexual subject matters. In other videos, children are exposed to content on eating disorders, suicide, and self-harm. The lawsuit claims that the content is not only available on TikTok’s app, but TikTok’s algorithm recommends it to 13-year-old users.

Understanding the consumer fraud lawsuit 

The Iowa AG is alleging violations of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act. Particularly, the AG is claiming that TikTok deceives parents concerning the appropriateness of its content for children. It further deceives app stores into rating the app for children ages 12 and over.

TikTok, Facebook, and other social media platforms have faced lawsuits filed by parents alleging that their platforms exposed their children to extremely bleak and inappropriate content resulting in suicide. In one case filed in the UK, Facebook was held liable for the suicide of a teenager who was exposed to relentlessly bleak content including self-harm materials on the site. The algorithm exposed her to this content after she clicked on an article related to self-harm. The teen’s entire personality changed after that and she ultimately took her own life.

Talk to an Ohio Consumer Fraud Attorney Today 

Have you been defrauded by an Ohio business? Contact the Columbus, OH consumer fraud attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.



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