SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Video-sharing app TikTok has come under scrutiny from California Attorney General Rob Bonta for its alleged promotion practices toward children.
Bonta joins the at-least seven other states launching an investigation to determine whether TikTok use is harmful to young adults and if officials with the social media platform are aware of such harms.
The investigation is expected to zero in on techniques used by the platform to boost young user engagement and strategies for increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and the frequency of engagement.
“Our children are growing up in the age of social media – and many feel like they need to measure up to the filtered versions of reality that they see on their screens,” Bonta said on Wednesday. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children's mental health and well-being. But we don't know what social media companies knew about these harms and when.”
States with attorneys general involved in the investigation include:
- New Jersey
Efforts to investigate and crack down on social media ramped up toward the end of 2021 when a whistleblower for tech giant Facebook released evidence showing many officials in the company were aware of harms the platform presented toward children and young adults.
Bonta announced in November 2021 a separate nationwide investigation into Facebook, now Meta.
He and other elected officials say Meta provided and promoted its social media platform Instagram to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms.