A bipartisan group of attorneys general has launched a nationwide probe of TikTok for its potential effect on young people’s mental and physical health. The investigation was announced by a number of states led by California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.
The nationwide probe of TikTok to investigate if the app is violating any rules
Maura Healy, Massachusetts attorney general, said; “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.” She further added that State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives. Likewise, the investigation will focus on the methods and techniques TikTok uses to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform.
A spokesperson from TikTok, Ben Rathe, issued a statement regarding the nationwide probe of TikTok, reads; “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.”
The Kids online safety act
The Kids Online Safety Act was introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn. The bill would raise the standards for online platforms that are reasonably likely to be used by kids aged 16 or younger to better protect them. It requires companies like Facebook parent Meta, Snap, Google, and TikTok to implement safeguards that minors or their parents can easily access to control their experience and personal data.