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Crime & Courts

Montana's attorney general launches an investigation into TikTok

Montana’s attorney general has launched a civil investigation into the popular social media app TikTok for possible violation of the state’s consumer protection act. Attorney General Austin Knudsen says the app may be misrepresenting the dangers of the platform for teens.

Knudsen sent the company a letter demanding answers to 80 questions, including how the app promotes a safe experience for teens, how it prohibits nudity and sexual solicitation and how the app differentiates the ages of users.

Knudsen said he’s concerned that content on TikTok encourages dangerous behavior, from eating disorders to threatening violence in schools.

Other state and federal officials have looked into how TikTok’s Chinese parent-company, ByteDance, uses personal user data and its algorithm for feeding content to users.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton launched his own investigation last week into TikTok for potentially facilitating human trafficking.

Earlier this month, TikTok announced an update to its guidelines and broadened the type of content that’s removed from the platform when deemed unsafe. The company wrote it’s an ongoing process and “there's no finish line when it comes to keeping people safe.”

Knudsen is demanding TikTok answer his questions by March 28.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.