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TikTok insists it is cooperating with Utah in social media investigation

Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 29, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — TikTok insists it is cooperating with Utah authorities as the state investigates social media companies for alleged harms to children.

But in a new filing obtained by FOX 13 asking a judge not to hold it in contempt of court, the digital video company accused the Utah Department of Commerce of imposing unreasonable requests and deadlines.

"[TikTok] has, among other things... produced more than 392,000 pages of documents, including documents responsive to all three [Division of Consumer Protection] subpoenas for documents and information, with productions continuing on a rolling basis," the company's attorney, Jacey Skinner, wrote.

TikTok claims that throughout its cooperation, the Division of Consumer Protection (a part of the Utah Department of Commerce) went to the court seeking a contempt motion. FOX 13 News first reported on the state's contempt filing in July.

"With the Motion came a slew of local media coverage in which the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Department in which DCP sits used the filing to publicize DCP’s investigation—an investigation that Utah law treats as confidential—and to accuse TTI, without justification, of blanket refusal to cooperate with DCP," Skinner wrote. "Far from evidencing a refusal to cooperate, DCP’s Motion takes issue with TTI’s compliance on just two narrow issues of process and timing..."

TikTok attorneys insist they have not refused to cooperate with the state and disclosed the company has been cooperating with a multi-state investigation, of which Utah is a part of.

Governor Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes have threatened litigation against social media companies for harms to youth mental health with addictive algorithms. The Utah State Legislature has passed bills restricting youth access to social media platforms. The state recently launched a major ad campaign of TV, digital and billboard ads warning of harms related to social media platforms.

State officials have refused to say what other companies they are targeting in their ongoing investigation.