Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that state officials plan to file three separate lawsuits against TikTok and Facebook and Instagram owner Meta, accusing the social media giants of pushing addictive and damaging content on children.
The governor’s office said the lawsuits would fall under the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.
“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.”
The governor’s office said the legal actions come after a decade of watching social media companies evade government oversight while exploiting children for profit, pledging her administration would not tolerate “the failed status quo.” Sanders further accused Meta of putting the company’s growth “at all costs” before the well-being of children.
One lawsuit has already been filed against Meta for “targeting young users of its products to the detriment of their mental and physical health,” Fox News reported.
Meta is “rewiring how our children think, feel and behave.” Sanders’ office said, adding the company allegedly publicly misled consumers about the addictive nature of its products.
“The youth of Arkansas are the direct victims of Meta’s actions, and Meta should be held accountable.” Sanders’ office said.
State officials have also filed two separate lawsuits against ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, which has faced ongoing criticism in the United States for allegedly threatening national security. The app has been accused of driving narratives that divide Americans against each other.
According to the one lawsuit reported by Fox News, it 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.”
While 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.”
“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.
President Joe Biden and several state officials have banned TikTok from government devices over data security and surveillance concerns after reports indicated that ByteDance staffers in China used the platform to monitor the locations of specific American users.
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced Sunday that lawmakers would advance legislation proposing a nationwide ban on TikTok after the video-sharing app’s CEO testified before Congress last week.
House Energy and Commerce Committee officials called on TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to testify before the panel over their national security threats, data privacy, and safety issues for the app’s 150 million American users.
During the hearing, Chew neglected to answer whether individuals associated with ByteDance, the social media platform’s Chinese parent company, helped him prepare for the hearing. Lawmakers further pressed Chew asking if the app has spied on Americans at the request of Bejing, which the CEO denied.
“It’s very concerning that the CEO of TikTok can’t be honest and admit what we already know to be true—China has access to TikTok user data,” McCarthy wrote in a tweet. “The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.”