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Colorado joins nationwide investigation into TikTok, its impacts on teens and kids

Posted at 5:06 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 20:22:59-05

DENVER — Colorado has joined a nationwide investigation into the social media giant, TikTok, to examine its impact on kids in our state, the Colorado Attorney General's Office announced Monday.

"We are committed to holding anybody accountable," said Attorney General Phil Weiser, who is helping lead a coalition of attorneys general from 46 states.

The group is calling on TikTok to turn over internal communications to see how it's affecting the physical and mental health of kids and young adults. In Monday's announcement, Weiser's office said this information is critical in determining whether the company broke any laws, citing social media's role in the ongoing youth mental health crisis.

“This is, to my mind, the worst type of concern when you're looking at hooking young people on a dangerous product," Weiser told Denver7. "One of the issues that we're concerned about is companies know that their product is having the effect of harming young people by pushing out content that is harmful to mental health, to the extent TikTok is now hiding information that bolsters our case. That is insult on top of the injury that we're concerned that they have already inflicted on young people."

While he didn't give any specifics, headlines from CNN, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal claim TikTok pushed dangerous weight-loss content to teenage girls.

TikTok refuted the reports, saying to the NY Times it regularly consults with experts and removes videos that violate its policies.

"We have the responsibility of protecting all consumers, and if businesses are engaging in unfair or predatory behavior, we're going to hold them to account and we're gonna protect consumers," said Weiser.

The attorneys general involved in the multi-state investigation said in a statement they have a duty to protect the people of their states from illegal business practices, and TikTok’s failure to preserve and share relevant internal communications hampers the investigation. The filed brief requests that the court compel TikTok to provide the information sought.

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