The tics may not be entirely the fault of TikTok, known for its extensive cadre of influencers who dance and gyrate in countless ways in an apparent quest for stardom.

Florida AG Moody, Other State AGs Probe TikTok For Malign Influence On Children  

A University of Florida study released this week indicates that teenagers who upped social media usage during the pandemic are now developing tics.

In short, researchers discovered more time on social media led to more severe, uncontrollable twitches in people 11 to 21. Dr. Jessica Frey of UF’s Department of Neurology told HealthDay News that these gestures can lead to “a difficulty with interpersonal relationships, including impairments in social, psychological and intellectual development.”

The tics may not be entirely the fault of TikTok, known for its extensive cadre of influencers who dance and gyrate in countless ways in an apparent quest for stardom.

But a group of state attorneys general, including Florida’s Ashley Moody, want to investigate the popular platform for its possible malign influence on children.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Moody and her counterparts in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont are looking into TikTok to see what techniques it uses to attract young fans and keep them engaged. The officials also want to know if the Chinese-owned company is violating state consumer protection laws by targeting children.

The move comes about a month after Texas announced it was delving into Tik Tok’s practices to learn if the platform, which garners about 1 billion viewers a month, is invading children’s privacy and facilitating human trafficking.

As the AP noted, “Government officials and child-safety advocates maintain that TikTok’s computer algorithms pushing video content to users can promote eating disorders and even self-harm and suicide to young viewers.”

Moody, it appears, has not commented publicly on Florida’s involvement in the investigation.

But in a statement, California Attorney General Rob Bonta noted, “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. 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. Our nationwide investigation will allow us to get much-needed answers and determine if TikTok is violating the law in promoting its platform to young Californians.”

In a statement, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said, “As children and teens already grapple with issues of anxiety, social pressure, and depression, we cannot allow social media to further harm their physical health and mental well-being. State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives.” 

TikTok denied any wrongdoing and said it welcomes the AGs probe as a way to keep children safe.

“We look forward to providing information on the many safety and privacy protections we have for teens,” the company told the AP.

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