A bipartisan group of attorneys general from several US states announced last Wednesday that they had decided to open an investigation into the impact of a popular Chinese application of… The social network TikTok on young Americans. Prosecutors from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont are seeking to find out what methods TikTok uses to keep people on the social network for as long as possible. They also seek to determine the potential harm and its effects on both children and young people.
News of the investigation came just a day after President Joe Biden, during his annual State of the Union address, called for greater accountability of tech platforms “for national experience that they do with our children to get the benefits.” Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to tighten social media regulation. In a factual statement, the White House said Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget would propose spending $5 million on research into the impact of social media on mental health. .
Kids and teens are already dealing with issues of anxiety, social stress, and depression, so we can’t allow that Harmful social networks “Their physical and mental health is even more so,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “Prosecutors have a duty to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok affect their daily lives.”
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong cited “reckless viral challenges” on TikTok as a serious concern. He added that although TikTok had already taken some steps to reduce harm to children, “our investigation will assess what TikTok knows about the risks to our children. Specifically what they have been doing to keep our young people connected.”
“Like many parents and caregivers, I remain concerned about the negative impact of social media on children and youth,” Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said in a statement. “This search for to protect Children and supportive parents. My office will do everything in its power to protect Vermont’s youth from harm online.”
For its part, TikTok said in a statement that it limits its features by age, provides tools and resources for parents, and designs its policies with youth wellbeing in mind. “We care deeply about building an experience that helps protect and support the well-being of our community,” TikTok said. “And we appreciate that state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of our younger users. We hope to provide information about the many security and privacy protections we provide to teens.”
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