Judge denies state’s preliminary injunction in lawsuit against TikTok
An Allen County Superior Court judge denied the state’s motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against social media company TikTok. In his ruling, Judge Craig Bobay said the state “is not likely to prevail” in its lawsuit against the platform.
The lawsuit is one of two filed by Attorney General Todd Rokita in December. It alleges that TikTok is deceiving users with its rating because of videos that contain sexual, vulgar and/or drug use content appearing on the app’s For You Page, or FYP.
Attorneys for the state used the Apple App Store as its example. Apple's age restrictions are based on surveys ranking types of content as "Infrequent/Mild" versus "Frequent/Intense."
But in his order, Judge Bobay said the ratings are subjective and cannot be used as “representations of fact” under Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
"The most favorable view of the state's evidence is that 2.6 percent of the 8 billion videos uploaded during this two years period violated Tiktok's Community Guidelines," he wrote in the order.
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Judge Bobay said in his denial the state had “not carried its burden to show the falsity of TikTok's representation that the content categories appear ‘infrequently,’ especially when comparing the relatively small amount of allegedly suspect content to all of the content appearing on TikTok.”
In an affidavit filed on behalf of the state, a special investigator for the state used the autofill search function within the app and was able to find videos with sexual content and drug use.
Bobay said that evidence didn’t take into account how TikTok users actually view content on the platform. More than 75 percent of content on TikTok is accessed through the FYP, according to court documents.
Judge Bobay also said the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this lawsuit. The age rating is uniform across all states, not targeted at Indiana.
Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.