SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The State of Utah is applying pressure against social media giant TikTok, submitting a motion to hold the company in contempt of court for allegedly failing to answer two subpoenas issued as part of the state’s ongoing investigation.
The move comes as part of the state’s intent to file a formal lawsuit against social media companies over claims of Utah consumer protection law violations and harming Utah children. The Utah Division of Consumer Protection said it issued two administrative subpoenas, one in February and again in May, which TikTok has reportedly failed to answer.
According to court documents, the social media company agreed to the subpoena and provided documents it had already gathered in response to another investigation but did not respond to specifications in Utah’s subpoena.
“Utah will not stop insisting that social media companies be held accountable for the harm they are causing our youth,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox. “That TikTok won’t even appropriately respond to the investigative subpoenas speaks volumes about the lack of TikTok’s credibility and transparency.”
The motion filed by Utah is the first judicial filing in Utah’s “unceasing demand” for social media companies to put in place more protections for children on their platforms.
“For too long, two essential questions have gone unanswered: how is TikTok conducting itself in the State of Utah, and how it is impacting the lives of children? As Attorney General, I will never stop fighting for the safety of our children,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. “That is why we have filed a Motion asking the Court to order TikTok to cooperate with our subpoenas. We will not accept further excuses or delays. No one is above the law.”
Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce Margaret Busse said Utah is not willing to “stand by” while children are at risk. Busse further said that Utah residents deserve to have confidence in the companies they ineract with, claiming TikTok’s “evasive actions” have “eroded that trust.”
ABC4 has reached out to TikTok for comment but has not heard back by the time of publication.
The motion filed by Utah can be viewed in its entirety below: