Attorneys general of different cities from California, Florida, Kentucky are investigating together TikTok for its effect on youngsters’ mental health. How Tiktok designs, operates, and markets strategies are affecting the health of adults. Said Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts in a press release.
TikTok’s algorithm focuses on engaging users with the app. It determines what content they most see. While the company has described how it works, it is hard to extract the correct information. The investigation team focuses on “the methods and techniques” TikTok uses to “boost young engagements”. Healey said.
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To meet the requirements of young users, Tiktok has paid $5.7 million to the FTC in 2019 to deal with allegations about its predecessor. The parents did not allow their children to use Music.ly. The settlement also required TikTok to set a limit on how users under 13 can interact with content on the app. Some researchers sounded the alarm about how few studies there were that looked into TikTok’s potential health impacts, despite its massive user base.
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Ben Rathe told that the company “appreciates that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of younger users,” and looks forward to “providing information on the many safety and privacy protections”. Meta and Snapchat are taking guidelines from TikTok to designing upcoming apps. According to meta, teens spend twice as much time on TikTok as they do on Instagram, and Android users spend more time on TikTok than on YouTube.
But the copying could lead to other platforms receiving increased scrutiny if the TikTok investigation results in legislation or other actions. According to The New York Times, regulators have been paying more attention to children’s online safety. On Tuesday, Biden addressed Congress to pass laws regulating privacy and advertising towards kids and met found itself at the center of congressional hearings last year report about the effect of Instagram on the mental health of teenagers.