Attorney General William Tong announced a nationwide, multistate 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.
The Wednesday announcement is a part of an effort to figure out if the social media platform violated state consumer protection laws that put the public at risk.
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.
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Plans for that meeting are ongoing, with the expectation that it will take place later this spring.
During a news conference, Tong talked about the recent TikTok challenges happening around the country and inside Connecticut.
"Challenging people to tear apart your high school is not just disruptive and not only does it constitute vandalism, but it can lead to violence, it can lead to people getting hurt and of course a challenge which encourages you to hit somebody, much less a teacher, is very dangerous," said Tong.
"People need to take responsibility including young people, you have to discuss social media with your parents, teachers and counselors and really understand that this may not be good for you like a lot of things are not good for you," he continued.
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.
“Along with Congressional scrutiny, this significant bipartisan probe will uncover TikTok’s actions that put profits over kids’ safety. This investigation underscores the urgent need for our Kids Online Safety Act, so these state attorneys general can hold platforms like TikTok legally and financially accountable for the harms they find," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.
Both investigations are ongoing, according to Tong's office.