Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti Files Motion to Compel TikTok’s Compliance in Request for Information

Monday, March 06, 2023 | 10:22am

Nashville- Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti today filed a motion to enforce a Request for Information (“RFI”) served on TikTok, Inc., requiring the company to preserve relevant documents and produce internal messages in an appropriate and useable format. The RFI was served on March 2nd, 2022, and TikTok has been allowed ample time to comply.

The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office believes that TikTok may be in violation of the State’s Consumer Protection statute by providing and promoting the use of its social media platform to minors, children and young adults in Tennessee and causing profound harms to these vulnerable users.

“We are asking the court to order TikTok to preserve and produce evidence for our investigation into social media’s impact on children’s mental health,” General Skrmetti said. “In light of the urgent importance of this issue, TikTok’s obstruction is unconscionable. If TikTok continues to flout the law, the state attorneys general have the tools to respond accordingly.”

TikTok’s counsel recently confirmed that the company chose not to disable a feature that allows employees to designate internal messages on Lark – TikTok’s internal communications platform – for deletion within seven days or less. This significantly heightens the chance that, nearly one year since receiving the RFI, TikTok employees continue to delete messages relevant to the Attorney General’s investigation.

The motion calls on the Court to compel TikTok to immediately preserve potentially relevant internal messages on the Lark platform, disable any document-deletion features that undermine TikTok’s preservation obligations, and make good faith efforts to recover relevant materials that may have been deleted.

TikTok has produced some internal Lark messages but has failed to appropriately format them. This formatting choice has rendered TikTok’s Lark messages unrecognizable and nearly incomprehensible, severely hampering the Attorney General’s ability to review and understand these messages. The motion moves the Court to compel TikTok to produce its internal messages in a more appropriate format.

Finally, the Attorney General’s Office asserts that TikTok has engaged in a pattern of delay. To reign in these tactics, the motion requests that the Court hold regularly scheduled status conferences regarding TikTok’s compliance with the RFI until the company fully discharges its obligations under Tennessee law. It is the Attorney General’s hope that this approach will accelerate TikTok’s production and minimize the need for future RFI enforcement actions.

To read the filed motion in its entirety, click here.


#PR23-10:  Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti Files Motion to Compel TikTok’s Compliance in Request for Information