A coalition of attorneys general from eight US states announced Wednesday that it has launched an investigation to establish if TikTok is inducing young people to spend more time on that platform, what they claim can put them at physical and mental risk.
The investigation focuses on the techniques used by TikTok to increase both frequency and time that children, adolescents and young adults spend on that platform and its potential damage according to a statement from the New Jersey District Attorney.
The research will also explore which TikTok knows about such damages.
“Many parents and child advocates are legitimately concerned about the impact of social media use in the welfare and safety of youth,” Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a statement.
“If social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram violate our laws and expose young users to psychological and physical damage, we will hold them accountable,” he claimed.
For her part, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey stressed that children and adolescents are dealing with issues of anxiety, social pressure and depression, so you can’t “allow social media to further harm your physical health and mental well-being.”
The TikTok investigation will be carried out by the states of California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.
This same group of states began in November of last year to investigate Goalthe parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, to determine how the social network Instagram recruits and affects the youngest.
The coalition then reported that its investigation would focus on “the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of youth user interaction and resulting harms.”
Prosecutors recalled that in May 2021, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13 years old.