Utah AG Alleges TikTok LIVE Facilitates Payments for Illegal Activity with Virtual Currency

  • Utah AG Sean Reyes has filed a lawsuit against TikTok Inc. alleging that it violated state consumer protection laws by designing its livestream feature—TikTok LIVE—in a manner that facilitates the use of virtual currency for illegal activities, including the sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, drug sales, and money laundering.
  • The complaint alleges that TikTok LIVE, which allows users to stream videos in real-time to a broad audience, uses manipulative design tactics known as “dark patterns” to deceive users into making in-app purchases and other transactions while incorporating ineffective age restrictions and other safety tools.  The complaint further alleges that TikTok directly profits from coupling the LIVE feature with monetization in the form of virtual currency, thus allowing users to pay for and profit from illegal activities such as child sexual exploitation, money laundering, and drug sales.
  • The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, restitution and civil penalties, an equitable accounting and disgorgement, and costs and fees, among other things.
  • Utah AG Sean ReyesNebraska AG Mike Hilgers, Iowa AG Brenna Bird, and Indiana AG Todd Rokita have brought other lawsuits against TikTok alleging harms to children associated with their use of the app, while Montana AG Knudsen has defended his state’s first-in-the-nation ban on the app.