A group of state attorneys general announced today that they’ll examine TikTok’s connection with negative mental and physical health results amongst kids and teenagers.
This investigation will analyze how TikTok can hurt young users and whether TikTok learnt about those damages beforehand. The bipartisan group of chief law officers will check out TikTok’s techniques of enhancing young user engagement and how TikTok incentivizes users to spend more time on the platform. This research study will assist the attorneys to identify if TikTok violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at danger.
“As children and teens already grapple with issues of anxiety, social pressure, and depression, we cannot allow social media to further harm their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in a news release. “State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives.”
These actions aren’t unusual, however, they don’t normally yield much change in big tech. In 2021 however, a similar coalition of 44 attorneys, likewise co-led by Attorney General Healey, succeeded in urging Meta to pause its plans to build Instagram Kids. That decision needed to do more with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s leakages, nevertheless.
The influence of social networks on children’s mental health is on federal government authorities’ minds. President Joe Biden even discussed social networks in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
“We must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit,” the president said in his across the country address. “It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.” Frances Haugen was in attendance as an honoured visitor of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden — she even earned an individual recognition in Biden’s speech.
The investigation into TikTok is led by a bipartisan coalition of attorney generals of the United States from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont, in addition to other lawyers from around the country.