A bipartisan group of state attorneys basic introduced on Wednesday that it had opened an investigation into TikTok and potential harms that the favored social media app could pose to youthful customers.
Not less than eight states are investigating if the design and promotion of TikTok contribute to bodily and psychological well being harms for youngsters and younger adults and if the corporate has violated state shopper safety legal guidelines. The examination of TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese language firm ByteDance, is just like an investigation into Fb that the coalition of attorneys basic started in November. (Fb’s mother or father firm has been renamed Meta.)
The states, led by Massachusetts, Nebraska and California, are investigating how TikTok could have tried to spice up engagement and preserve younger customers hooked to the app.
“As youngsters and youths already grapple with points of tension, social stress and melancholy, we can not enable social media to additional hurt their bodily well being and psychological well-being,” Maura Healey, the lawyer basic of Massachusetts, stated in a press release. “State attorneys basic have an crucial to guard younger individuals and search extra details about how corporations like TikTok are influencing their each day lives.”
TikTok stated it had added new security and privateness measures geared toward defending teenage customers.
“We care deeply about constructing an expertise that helps to guard and help the well-being of our group and recognize that the state attorneys basic are specializing in the security of youthful customers,” the corporate stated in a press release.
The problem of on-line youngster security has taken heart stage in Washington, and social media corporations have come underneath intense scrutiny over their potential harms to youngsters and youths. Leaked inner paperwork from a Fb whistle-blower final 12 months revealed the corporate had discovered that some teenage customers of Instagram felt worse about themselves and their physique pictures after utilizing the app.
A number of members of Congress, in hearings late final 12 months on youngster on-line security, stated they’d heard from households that teen women had been directed to dangerous content material on Instagram that contributed to consuming issues and self hurt. Since then, lawmakers have launched a number of payments geared toward curbing focused promoting to youngsters and stopping social media corporations from monitoring knowledge on younger customers.
Throughout his State of the Union deal with on Tuesday, President Biden urged privateness and different regulatory protections for youth on-line, saying, “We should maintain social media accountable for the nationwide experiment they’re conducting on our youngsters for revenue.”