Is TikTok Live a Virtual Strip Club? Utah thinks so!

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has filed a lawsuit against TikTok, accusing the social media giant of enabling the sexual exploitation of children through its livestreaming feature, TikTok LIVE.

The lawsuit, filed in Utah state court, argues that the platform operates “like a virtual strip club,” where children may be encouraged by adults to engage in illicit acts on camera in exchange for monetary gifts.

Is TikTok Live a Virtual Strip Club? Utah thinks so!

TikTok LIVE allows users to broadcast live videos, interact with viewers, and receive virtual gifts that can be converted into monetary payments. While TikTok’s policies prohibit users under 18 from hosting livestreams, the lawsuit alleges that these measures are insufficient to prevent misuse.

According to the complaint, TikTok has been aware of these issues since at least December 2023, based on user complaints and internal safety reports. The lawsuit details instances where underage users were allegedly found providing sexually suggestive content in exchange for money within minutes of browsing the live feed.

The lawsuit criticizes TikTok’s age verification and enforcement measures, claiming they fail to adequately protect minors. The complaint states that minors are being manipulated into sending monetary gifts to other users on the platform, with promises of likes, shoutouts, goods, or interactions from livestream hosts.

TikTok spokesperson Michael Hughes responded to the lawsuit, asserting that the platform has “industry-leading policies and measures to help protect the safety and well-being of teens.” Hughes emphasized that creators must be at least 18 years old to go live and must meet a follower requirement. “We immediately revoke access to features if we find accounts that do not meet our age requirements,” he said.

This is not the first legal challenge TikTok has faced from Utah’s attorney general. Reyes previously filed a lawsuit accusing the platform of harming the mental health of young users. Similar claims have been made by other states, including Arkansas and New York City, targeting TikTok and other social media platforms for their impact on children’s wellbeing.

The current lawsuit adds to the growing scrutiny TikTok faces in the United States. The platform is already under significant pressure after President Joe Biden signed a law requiring the Chinese-owned app to be sold to a new company or face a ban from US app stores. TikTok has challenged this law, arguing it violates the First Amendment.

The heavily redacted lawsuit claims that TikTok’s livestreaming feature is being exploited for transactional sexual content, particularly involving minors. It references an incident in September 2022, where an investigator found underage users providing sexually suggestive content for money within minutes of browsing the live feed.

The complaint further alleges that TikTok has failed to implement sufficient safeguards to prevent such exploitation. It accuses the company of prioritizing profit over user safety, stating that the platform’s virtual currency system facilitates the exploitation of minors.

The Utah attorney general’s office is seeking a jury trial for the case, aiming to hold TikTok accountable for its alleged failures in protecting young users.

The lawsuit filed by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes against TikTok brings to light serious allegations regarding the safety and exploitation of minors on the platform.


Leave a Reply