TikTok under probe for its effect on kids’ health in US

A coalition of state attorneys general in the US have launched a nationwide investigation into whether TikTok is designing, operating and promoting its social media platform to children, teens and young adults in a manner that causes or exacerbates physical and mental health harm.

Attorneys general nationwide are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

Attorney General Maura Healey, along with her colleagues across the country, has long expressed concern about the negative impact of social media platforms on Massachusetts’s youngest residents.

“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,” AG Healey said in a statement.

“State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives,” AG Healey added.

The investigation will look into the harm such usage may cause to young people and what TikTok knew about that harm. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the methods and techniques utilised by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform.

In May 2021, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13. In November 2021, AG Healey announced her leadership of a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform Instagram to kids.

Leading the investigation into TikTok is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. They are joined by a broad group of attorneys general from across the country.

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