An alliance of state attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, and more is investigating TikTok for its latent effect on young people’s mental and physical health. The group of AGs is looking to see if the way TikTok designs, operates, and markets its platform has a negative effect on children, teens, and young adults’ health according to a press release from attorney general Maura Haley of Massachusetts.
A TikTok algorithm determines what content users see and has proven amazingly effective at keeping users engaged on the app. While the agency has offered some imminent into how it works, it’s hard to get a clutch on accurate details outside of leaks and educated guesswork. The attorney’s general may be looking to change that though the investigation will focus on the methods and techniques TikTok uses to boost young user engagement including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform according to Haley.
Read More: Latest Reels video editing tools of Meta get their creator experience near TikTok’s
TikTok has struggled in the past to meet the needs of its younger users it had to pay $5.7 million to the FTC in 2019 to settle accusations that its predecessor musically didn’t get proper permission from the parents of young children who signed up to use the app. The settlement also required TikTok to strictly limit how users under 13 could interact with content on the app. Recently some researchers sounded the alarm about how few studies there were that looked into TikTok potential health impacts, despite its massive user base.
Spokesperson Ben Rathe told that the agency that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety and privacy protections it has for teens. The investigation could have an impact further than just TikTok. Meta is also facing its own investigation from state attorneys general with a similar focus as the TikTok investigation announced Wednesday.