Coalition of 8 State Attorneys General Opens Investigation of China-Owned TikTok
A bipartisan coalition of eight state attorneys general announced that it has opened an investigation into the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok this week.
The New York Timesreports that a bipartisan group of state attorneys general announced an investigation into the Chinese-owned app TikTok this week. The investigation will examine the potential harm that the app may pose to younger users. TikTok is wildly popular with teens and pre-teens in America.
ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming (STR/Getty)
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Currently, eight states are investigating if the design and promotion of TikTok has contributed to physical and mental health issues among teenagers and young adults and if the company has violated state consumer protection laws. This investigation mirrors another recent probe of Facebook that the coalition of attorneys general launched in November.
The coalition is led by states Massachusetts, Nebraska, and California and is focusing its investigation on how TikTok may have attempted to boost engagement and keep younger users on the app for longer. Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, said in a statement:
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 well-being. State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives.
TikTok has said that it has added new safety and privacy measures aimed at protecting its younger users, stating: “We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community and appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users.”
The Wall Street Journalrevealed in its Facebook Files series that Facebook was well aware of its negative impact on youth mental health. Lawmakers have since introduced a number of bills aimed at curbing targeted advertising to children and stopping social media sites from tracking younger users.
Read more at the New York Times here.