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Lawsuit Filed by Utah Accuses TikTok of Employing ‘Manipulative Design Features’ to Engage and Retain Young Users

TikTok, the popular social media platform, is facing legal action in the United States. Utah, joining Indiana and Arkansas, has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that it encourages excessive usage among young users, leading to harm. This latest development adds to the ongoing scrutiny and legal challenges faced by TikTok in the country.

The issue of banning TikTok due to security concerns first arose in 2020, but since then, there hasn’t been much progress. However, three states are now taking steps to restrict the platform in some way, with Utah being the latest to do so.

The situation varies from state to state. Last month, California attempted to enforce a law to protect children’s internet usage, but it was blocked by a federal judge. Now, Utah is claiming that TikTok deceives children and their parents by promoting the app as safe when it actually has negative effects on their mental and physical well-being. The lawsuit states that TikTok employs powerful algorithms and manipulative design features, some of which resemble those of slot machines.

TikTok, which boasts over 150 million users in the US, responded to the lawsuit by defending its safety measures for young users. The platform has an automatic 60-minute time limit for users under 18 and parental controls for teen accounts.

The investigation into these allegations is ongoing, and Utah is seeking civil penalties as well as an injunction to prevent TikTok from engaging in deceptive business practices that violate state law.

The concern over TikTok’s impact on users, particularly children, highlights the need for continued scrutiny and regulation in the realm of social media. The outcome of these lawsuits could have significant implications for the platform’s future in the US.

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