Eight US states, including California and Massachusetts, have announced a bipartisan nationwide investigation into the potentially negative impact of the popular social video service TikTok on the physical and mental health of young people. At the same time, the investigation should find out whether the developers knew about the harmful effects of the service.
In addition, “The investigation focuses, among other things, on the methods and techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said in a statement.
Also, TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, said the company is “focused on the safety of young users” and restricts the platform’s functionality based on age. The social network claims that it expects to provide information about safety and privacy systems for teenagers.
“We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens,” the statement said.
US states launch investigation into TikTok impact on youth health
In early February, the company said it was working on ways to introduce age ratings for content; and implement age restrictions to prevent teens from viewing content. It is known that a similar investigation is already underway against Meta Platforms; in connection with the activities of its Instagram division; the social network also raises many questions about the potential impact of its services on the mental health and safety of children.
The attorneys general already have a probe open into Facebook’s parent Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O); regarding its subsidiary Instagram, which has also come under intense scrutiny; over the potential impact of their services on the mental health and online safety of young users.
Also, the investigation is being led by a coalition of prosecutors from California; Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. According to reports, representatives of other states are ready to join them.
As US President Joe Biden said; “We must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit;” he said in calling for stronger privacy protections for children and a ban on targeted advertising to them. The President called for stronger privacy protections for minors and a ban on targeted advertising for them.
In addition, according to the latest data, the TikTok social media intends to expand its user reach by supporting longer videos up to 10 minutes in the near future.