Arkansas sues social media giants for ‘addictive’ effect on kids: ‘Rewiring how our children think’

EXCLUSIVE: The state of Arkansas plans to file three lawsuits against TikTok and Meta in an effort to protect residents in the state, specifically children. The lawsuits, according to Republican Gov. Sarah Sanders’ office, fall under Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which makes it illegal for companies to engage in false or deceptive business practices. “We have to hold Big Tech companies accountable for pushing addictive platforms on our kids and exposing them to a world of inappropriate, damaging content,” Sanders said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Arkansas is leading the charge on filing three lawsuits against TikTok and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.” “These actions are a long time coming. We have watched over the past decade as one social media company after another has exploited our kids for profit and escaped government oversight. My administration will not tolerate that failed status quo,” she added. TIKTOK: MCCAUL SAYS HE ‘CAN’T THINK OF A GREATER PROPAGANDA TOOL’ FOR CHINA Sanders’ office told Fox News that one lawsuit has already been filed against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for “targeting young users of its products to the detriment of their mental and physical health.” Accusing the company of putting its “growth at all costs” ahead of the well-being of children in Arkansas, Sanders’ office noted that Meta is “rewiring how our children think, feel and behave.” “Meta has publicly misled consumers about the addictive nature of its products,” Sanders’ office said. “The youth of Arkansas are the direct victims of Meta’s actions, and Meta should be held accountable.” Additionally, Arkansas is taking aim at TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, for what it considers to be a violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Beijing-based ByteDance, Sanders’ office said. One lawsuit pertains to the “abundance of posts dealing with mature themes, nudity and drugs viewed by minors despite TikTok’s claims that such posts are unavailable to maintain teenager-approved ratings on various application stores.” The other lawsuit relates to the “deception by TikTok that the user data of Arkansans is safe from access by the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party,” according to the governor’s office. SENATE’S BIPARTISAN RESTRICT ACT WOULD BLOCK TECH PRODUCTS LIKE TIKTOK MADE IN ADVERSARIAL COUNTRIES “China is a foreign adversary that is targeting our children through social media in a serious challenge to American values,” Sanders’ office said. “China is also threatening our nation’s security and our citizens’ privacy by leveraging information technologies like TikTok against the United States. Arkansas’ lawsuits targeting Meta and TikTok, filed by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, come amid a debate among lawmakers on whether to take up legislation action to protect Americans from the potential dangers of TikTok. TikTok is facing an ongoing security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — an interagency group that evaluates threats to U.S. national security posed by foreign investments or transactions. CFIUS has been looking into TikTok since 2019, and in 2020 it unanimously recommended that ByteDance divest from TikTok’s U.S. operations. SENATE’S BIPARTISAN RESTRICT ACT WOULD BLOCK TECH PRODUCTS LIKE TIKTOK MADE IN ADVERSARIAL COUNTRIES President Biden signed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill last year that included a measure to ban TikTok from federal government devices. TikTok has also been banned for use on state-owned electronic devices in more than a dozen states — in both Republican and Democrat-led state governments. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Senate and House intelligence committees earlier this month about TikTok’s power to “drive narratives” and “divide Americans against each other.” Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this article.
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