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State AGs Investigate TikTok

March 03, 2022

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launched a nationwide investigation into whether TikTok is designing, operating, and promoting its social media platform to children, teens, and young adults in a manner that causes or exacerbates physical and mental health harms. Attorneys general nationwide are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

AG Healey, along with her colleagues across the country, has long expressed concern about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Massachusetts’s youngest residents.

“As children and teens already grapple with issues of anxiety, social pressure, and depression, we cannot allow social media to further harm their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said AG Healey. “State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives.”

The investigation will look into the harms such usage may cause to young people and what TikTok knew about those harms. 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.

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. In November 2021, AG Healey announced her leadership of a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform Instagram to kids.

Leading the investigation into TikTok is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont. They are joined by a broad group of attorneys general from across the country.

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