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California Opens Investigation Into TikTok And Its Effects On Kids

A close-up of the TikTok logo on a phone screen.
TikTok is now under investigation by California's Attorney General.
(Solen Feyissa
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California Attorney General Rob Bonta and his counterparts in seven other states are launching an investigation into TikTok, and whether the platform is harming children.

“Our children are growing up in the age of social media,” said Bonta, “and many feel like they need to measure up to that filtered version of reality that they see on their screen.”

The investigation also seeks to find out how much executives at TikTok knew about the potential mental health damage that their product could inflict on young people.

“We want to know what … they did to promote their platform to children, including to attract them to participate and to retain their engagement, maximize the duration of their engagement, the frequency of their engagement,” Bonta said.

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During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden expressed similar concerns. He called for holding social media platforms accountable for “the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit.”

A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that the company hopes to build an experience “that helps to protect … the well-being” of the platform’s users, and that it “looks forward” to providing information on its safety and privacy protections for teens.

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