Iowa joins coalition investigating TikTok

Iowa and Attorney General Brenna Bird joined 46 states in requesting TikTok Inc. fully comply with a multistate investigation into whether the company violated consumer protection laws.

The bipartisan coalition of states is seeking internal TikTok communications to determine if the company has been engaging in unlawful conduct that impacts youth mental health, according to a press release.

“We need to hold social media companies such as TikTok accountable and address our growing youth mental-health crisis,” Ms. Bird said in a statement. “Millions of minors across America use these social media platforms daily. TikTok has grown China’s global presence and given them direct influence over our children. We must evaluate TikTok’s business practices to determine whether it has broken laws and engaged in conduct that hurts youth mental health.”

Ms. Bird said TikTok “repeatedly and knowingly failed” to preserve information by letting employees send auto-deleting chats through the chat-app Lark.

In a study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that almost one-third of teenage girls seriously considered suicide in 2021, a nearly 60% increase from a decade prior.

In a statewide flash briefing Dec. 15, Coralville-based ProCircular advised clients to remove the app, citing a potential threat to millions of citizens. That warning applied to regular people, as well as those in leadership positions.

Cybersecurity firms like ProCircular worry the Chinese-owned app has over-reaching permissions and user data collection and tracking.

The full request is available for public consumption.