Attorney General Paxton filed a Colorado-led amicus brief in support of Tennessee, which is a part of a multistate coalition investigating TikTok. The states’ investigation into the company aims to determine whether the Chinese social media platform has deleteriously affected the mental health of American children and teens.  

TikTok may have violated state consumer protection laws, and the company has repeatedly failed to adequately and appropriately respond to the states’ reasonable requests for information. The state of Tennessee has thus filed a motion to compel and petitioned the court to ensure that TikTok fully complies with investigator demands. The multistate amicus brief is in full support of this motion.  

The brief highlights TikTok’s apparent failure to preserve vital pieces of information and internal communications relevant to the investigation. Further complicating the process, even the content that has been produced by TikTok has not been handed over in a reasonably usable format. This handicaps the ability of the states to investigate the company, remedy the harms that it has inflicted, and ensure that justice is served.  

The amicus brief states: “The Lark application—effectively, TikTok’s internal instant-messaging platform—is a primary method by which TikTok employees communicate internally. These chats presumably contain the contemporaneous thoughts of the people with the most insight into TikTok’s design and algorithmic decisions and TikTok’s understanding of the consequences of such decisions. . . . TikTok’s apparent failure to preserve certain Lark content after the start of this investigation and its refusal to produce this content in a readable format frustrates the core aims of the states’ investigation. A court order is particularly appropriate here based on TikTok’s conduct—and apparent opinion that the normal rules of document preservation and production do not apply to the Company.” 

To read the full amicus brief, click here.