WASHINGTON (AP) — Condition attorneys general have introduced a nationwide investigation into TikTok and its achievable damaging effects on young users’ mental health, widening govt scrutiny of the wildly preferred online video system.

The investigation was introduced Wednesday by a quantity of states led by California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

U.S. lawmakers and federal regulators have criticized TikTok, citing procedures and pc-pushed promotion of articles they say can endanger the bodily and psychological health and fitness of young consumers. The platform has an approximated 1 billion regular buyers and is especially popular with teens and youthful small children.

Final month, Texas opened an investigation into TikTok’s alleged violations of children’s privateness and facilitation of human trafficking.

“Our youngsters are escalating up in the age of social media — and several really feel like they require to evaluate up to the filtered versions of fact that they see on their screens,” California Legal professional Normal Rob Bonta mentioned in a news launch. “We know this takes a devastating toll on children’s psychological health and fitness and perfectly-getting.”

Bonta claimed the investigation aims to decide if TikTok is violating the law in promoting its system to young folks.

Govt officials and boy or girl-security advocates manage that TikTok’s pc algorithms pushing online video written content to users can market taking in ailments and even self-hurt and suicide to young viewers.

TikTok has stated it focuses on age-appropriate ordeals, noting that some functions, these types of as immediate messaging, are not available to youthful customers.

“We care deeply about building an knowledge that allows to secure and assist the nicely-becoming of our neighborhood, and take pleasure in that the point out attorneys normal are concentrating on the basic safety of more youthful people,” the firm reported Wednesday. “We search ahead to providing information and facts on the a lot of security and privacy protections we have for teenagers.”

Early final yr, right after federal regulators purchased TikTok to disclose how its procedures have an affect on kids and young people, the platform tightened its privateness techniques for end users less than 18.

As its popularity has swelled, TikTok has occur beneath a barrage of criticism from condition officers, federal regulators, consumer advocates and lawmakers of each get-togethers. Republicans have especially homed in on the company’s ties to China. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

“TikTok threatens the basic safety, mental wellbeing and well-becoming of our young children,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the senior Republican on the Home Energy and Commerce Committee, claimed at a hearing Tuesday.

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