Exclusive: the Arkansas State It plans to file three lawsuits against TikTok and Meta in an effort to protect residents in the state, especially children.
The lawsuits, according to the office of Republican Governor Sarah Sanders, fall under Arkansas’ deceptive business practices law, which makes it illegal for companies to engage in false or deceptive business practices.
“We must hold big tech companies accountable for pushing addictive platforms on our children and exposing them to a world of inappropriate and harmful content,” Sanders said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Arkansas leads charge in filing three lawsuits against TikTok and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.”
She added, “These measures have been coming for a long time. Over the past decade we have watched one social media company after another exploit our children for profit and escape government oversight. My administration will not tolerate this failed status quo.”
Sanders’ office told Fox News that a lawsuit has already been filed against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for “targeting young users of its products at the expense of their mental and physical health.”
Sanders’ office accused the company of putting its “growth at all costs” ahead of the well-being of children in Arkansas, and noted that Metta “rewires how our children think, feel, and act.”
“Meta has publicly misled consumers about the addictive nature of its products,” Sanders’ office said. “The youth of Arkansas are the direct victims of Mita’s actions, and Mita must be held accountable.”
Additionally, Arkansas is targeting TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, for what it sees as a violation of Arkansas’ Deceptive Business Practices Act.
Sanders’ office said two separate lawsuits had been filed against Beijing-based ByteDance.
One of the lawsuits related to “the abundance of posts dealing with mature topics, nudity, and drugs viewed by minors despite TikTok’s claims that such posts are not available to maintain approved ratings for teens on various app stores.”
The other lawsuit concerns “deception by TikTok that Arkansans user data is secure from access by the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party,” according to the governor’s office.
“China is a foreign adversary that targets our children through social media, in serious defiance of American values,” Sanders’ office said. “China also threatens the security of our nation and the privacy of our citizens by leveraging information technologies like TikTok against the United States.
The Arkansas lawsuits targeting Meta and TikTok, brought by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, come amid a debate among lawmakers about whether legislative action should be taken to protect Americans from the potential dangers of TikTok.
TikTok has been facing an ongoing security review before Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) – An interagency group that assesses threats to US national security posed by foreign investments or transactions.
CFIUS has been looking at TikTok since 2019, and in 2020 unanimously recommended that ByteDance divest TikTok in the US.
President Biden signed a sweeping $1.7 trillion spending bill last year that included a measure to ban TikTok from federal government agencies.
TikTok has also been banned for use on state-owned electronic devices in more than a dozen states — in both Republican- and Democratic-led state governments.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees earlier this month about TikTok’s ability to “push narratives” and “divide Americans against each other.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this article.