On Wednesday, several State Attorneys initiated a nationwide investigation into TikTok and its possible harmful effects on young users’ mental health.
Led by California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont, the investigation aims to determine if TikTok is violating the law in promoting its platform to young people.
“Our children are growing up in the age of social media — and many feel like they need to measure up to the filtered versions of reality that they see on their screens,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a news release. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children’s mental health and well-being.”
U.S. lawmakers and federal regulators have criticized TikTok, citing practices and computer-driven promotion of content they say can endanger the physical and mental health of young users. The platform has an estimated 1 billion monthly users and is especially popular with teens and younger children. Government officials and child-safety advocates maintain that TikTok’s computer algorithms pushing video content to users can promote eating disorders and even self-harm and suicide to young viewers.
In response, the video-led company said on Wednesday, “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. We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens.”