Attorney General Ashley Moody News Release
February 6, 2023
Contact: Kylie Mason
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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VIDEO: The Chinese Spy Balloon is Gone, Threats to Sensitive Information Continue and Parents Should Dig in on TikTok

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Following the days-long sojourn of a Chinese spy balloon floating across the United States, Attorney General Ashley Moody is cautioning parents about the threat of data collection by China-owned social media app TikTok. The Florida Attorney General’s Office is actively and diligently investigating the company over its harmful effects on children, engagement techniques and data collection. Attorney General Moody encourages parents to safeguard their children’s personal data.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The Chinese spy balloon that traveled U.S. airspace this week is a reminder of the importance of protecting personal information. As a mom, an American and Florida’s Attorney General, I have major concerns about how TikTok may be influencing children and exploiting user data. As my attorneys—along with federal officials—continue to investigate TikTok, I recommend parents consider deleting the app from their children’s devices to protect the security of their personal information.”

Many U.S. universities are banning the use of TikTok on campus, and last month, the University of Florida sent a letter to its faculty, staff and students, recommending the deletion of TikTok from all mobile devices—stating that according to prominent experts, use of TikTok raises national security concerns due to the possibility of foreign governments using the app to collect and access U.S. user data.

In May 2020, Attorney General Moody began seeking information about how TikTok ensures the privacy and security of children who use the social media platform, noting concern regarding the circumvention of age verification tools and the exposure of children to inappropriate content on the platform.

Then, in March 2022, Attorney General Moody along with 42 other attorneys general, sent a letter to TikTok and Snapchat urging that parents be given the ability to monitor a child’s social media usage to guard against online threats through parental controls.

In December 2022, Attorney General Moody and 14 additional attorneys general demanded that both Apple and Google take immediate action to correct the TikTok application store age ratings from ‘T’ for ‘Teen’ to ‘M’ for ‘Mature’ in the Google Play App Store and from ‘12+’ to ‘17+’ in the Apple App Store.