US Launches Investigation Into TikTok's Potential Negative Impact On American Youth
"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," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
March 04, 2022 at 6:46 am
California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced that he and a “bipartisan coalition” of attorneys general from 7 other states, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Vermont, are launching a combined investigation into TikTok‘s impact on American youth.
This effort is centered on exploring “whether the company is violating state consumer protection laws and putting children at risk” in terms of their physical and mental health.
“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,” Bonta said in his statement. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children’s mental health and well-being. But we don’t know what social media companies knew about these harms and when.”
“Our nationwide investigation will allow us to get much-needed answers and determine if TikTok is violating the law in promoting its platform to young Californians,” he added.
Within this nationwide investigation, the attorney general will explore how exactly TikTok can negatively impact underage users, as well as whether or not the platform itself was aware of these potential risks. Specific ways the app sought to boost engagement among younger users will also be taken into account—including TikTok‘s recent announcement that the maximum video length on the app will soon be bumped up to 10 minutes.
Shortly after this announcement started circulating, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that she would also be joining the investigation.
“Recent reports on social media’s impact on the mental and physical health of young people raise serious questions among attorneys general across the nation. Ultimately, we are concerned about protecting our youth,” Nessel stated. “I am proud to join my colleagues in this investigation. Given this is an ongoing investigation, I will not be discussing any details beyond this announcement.”
Attorneys general from North Carolina, Connecticut, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Iowa soon followed suit and publicly announced their involvement in the investigation. It is currently unclear if other attorneys general will join this nationwide investigation.
TikTok released a statement affirming the app’s support of the investigation in response to the matter.
“We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community, and [we] appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users,” the company said. “We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens.”