Utah’s new lawsuit against TikTok includes startling allegations that the company knows it profits off the sexual exploitation of young people via the livestream feature.

“In countless live streams, minors have been encouraged by adults to — among other illicit acts — strip, spread their legs, and flash body parts to the camera, in exchange for virtual Gifts,” the suit alleged.

The suit filed on Monday morning marks the state’s second complaint against the social media giant. This most recent complaint focuses on a feature known as TikTok Live. The state alleges this feature allows adults to pay young users to dance or pose provocatively or strip — and the app takes as much as a 50% commission on every transaction. TikTok has a currency that can be paid to users and then exchanged for real money.

“TikTok has industry-leading policies and measures to help protect the safety and well-being of teens,” a spokesperson for TikTok said in response to a request for comment. “Creators must be at least 18 years old before they can go LIVE, and their account must meet a follower requirement. We immediately revoke access to features if we find accounts that do not meet our age requirements.”

Gov. Spencer Cox said in a release that the state would take “all necessary actions” to protect young people.

“I find the new allegations against TikTok Live not merely concerning but incredibly disturbing,” said Cox. “Such disregard for the safety of young users on the platform, much less profiting off their exploitation, cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the app has created a “virtual strip club” that enables exploitation of young users and the state couldn’t wait longer to act.

“Our investigation confirmed TikTok knows of the damage to young victims but feels it makes far too much to stop,” said Reyes. “There are so many layers of harm in its practices, we cannot wait a day longer to act.”

This latest suit against TikTok marks the second time the state has sued the social media company. In October 2023, the state filed a consumer protection suit alleging TikTok addicted young users to the app via features such as the algorithm and push notifications.

About that suit, a TikTok spokesperson previously said, “TikTok has industry-leading safeguards for young people, including an automatic 60-minute time limit for users under 18 and parental controls for teen accounts. We will continue to work to keep our community safe by tackling industry-wide challenges.”

The investigation process led Utah to examine the livestream feature and then subsequently file this latest lawsuit. The state claims TikTok reaps profits off transactions on the livestream to the tune of millions of dollars in Utah alone.

Inside Utah’s war on social media

Utah alleges the company’s aware the livestream feature allows young users to be sexually exploited. The state claims internal studies and admissions of employees are evidence of this awareness. Much of the suit is currently redacted.

“TikTok’s design tactics encourage and allow it to profit from crime and the sexual exploitation of children,” the suit stated. “These deceptive and unconscionable practices violate Utah’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and harm Utah’s consumers.”

The suit also contends TikTok has not implemented basic financial controls on the app that would protect against fraud and criminal activity. Subsequently, Utah claims young users can be exploited on the app while TikTok allegedly profits off it.

The state further claims the livestream feature — which has a virtual currency — has allowed for the hosting of illegal gambling rings, the funding of terrorism, the selling of drugs and for money laundering.

“The Division’s presuit investigation also confirmed that TikTok’s platform facilitates the sale of illegal drugs to underage children right here at our doorstep — including easily allowing TikTok users to offer the sale and delivery of drugs like Xanax, Valium and MDMA to children in Salt Lake City,” the suit alleged.


The Utah Division of Consumer Protection filed the suit against TikTok through the Attorney General’s Office.

In a release, the division said it was in an ongoing subpoena enforcement action with TikTok to make certain documents cited in the complaint public.

“The state intends to ask the court to unseal the current complaint as soon as possible to shine the full light of public accountability on TikTok’s conduct,” the release stated.

Utah is seeking for TikTok to give up money it has obtained from alleged illegal activity on its platform.

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