Texas Attorney General Investigates TikTok for Potential Child Privacy Violations and Facilitation of Human Trafficking
On February 18, 2022, the Texas Attorney General’s Office (the “Texas AG”) announced that it had issued two Civil Investigative Demands (“CIDs”) to TikTok Inc. The Texas AG’s investigation focuses on TikTok’s alleged violations of children’s privacy and facilitation of human trafficking, along with other potential unlawful conduct.
In relevant part, the CIDs seek information and documents related to TikTok’s policies and practices with respect to how the company identifies, addresses and prevents illegal activity involving children from taking place on the platform. The CIDs request that TikTok describe its content review practices, including the company’s procedures for identifying and removing content for child safety purposes. Pursuant to the CIDs, TikTok must provide copies of documents (e.g., policies, guidance, manuals, training materials) related to children’s use of TikTok, including the company’s privacy practices for child users, parental controls on the platform, the permissible age to create a TikTok account, the company’s procedures for verifying a user’s age, the company’s limits on content, and any steps TikTok has taken to prevent children from being sexually exploited on the platform. TikTok has until March 18, 2022 to reply to the CIDs.
The TikTok investigation follows on the heels of another investigation recently announced by the Texas AG, into Meta’s collection and use of biometric data, signaling a greater focus on privacy enforcement actions by the regulator.