On Tuesday, a group of state attorneys general said that they were investigating TikTok’s impact on kids and teens. The announcement came after President Biden called on Congress to pass legislation focused on “keeping kids safe online.”
Attorneys general from New Jersey, Vermont, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska, Florida, and others will investigate TikTok to determine the mental health risk it poses to kids. The investigation will also determine if TikTok’s practices violate consumer protection laws.
“Like many parents and caregivers, I continue to be concerned about the negative impact of social media on children and young adults,” said Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan in a statement. “This investigation is about protecting kids and supporting parents. My office will do all that it can to protect young Vermonters from online harms.”
Connecticut’s AG William Tong singled out “reckless viral challenges” as one of the areas of concern. He added that the investigation “will look at what TikTok knew about the risks to our children, and precisely what they have been doing to keep our kids online.”
In a statement, TikTok said: “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 announcement of the investigation came shortly after Biden’s State of the Union speech, where he said online platforms should be held accountable “for the national experiment they are conducting on children for profit.” He encouraged Congress to pass laws with stricter regulation for online platforms and proposed allocating $5 million to research about social media’s effect on mental health in the 2023 budget.