Attorney General Tong Announces Investigation Into TikTok
Attorneys General Concerned for Safety and Well-Being of Children
(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong today announced a nationwide investigation into TikTok for providing and promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys general nationwide are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws that put the public at risk.
Attorney General Tong has long expressed concern about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Connecticut’s youngest residents. Attorney General Tong first wrote to TikTok leaders last October demanding a meeting in Connecticut to give educators and parents the opportunity to discuss the harmful impact the viral app has had on the mental and physical safety of young people and educators. Plans for that meeting are ongoing, with the expectation that it will take place later this spring.
“I have had multiple conversations with TikTok leaders where I have made it clear that the reckless viral challenges that proliferate on their platform are dangerous and need to stop. I appreciate that they have made efforts to remove some of the harmful content from their site, but whatever they have been doing just is not enough to protect our kids. Our 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 coordination with attorneys general across the country, we are prepared to use the full weight of our consumer protection authority to hold TikTok and other social media giants accountable,” said Attorney General Tong.
The investigation will look into the harms such usage causes to young users and what TikTok knew about those harms. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the 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, Attorneys General from across the country announced their investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform Instagram to kids.
Assistant Attorneys General Michael Martone and Kim McGee, Consumer Protection Section Chief Michael Wertheimer, and Privacy Section Chief Michele Lucan are assisting the Attorney General in this investigation.
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