It is a modern social network among the youngest, but it can be anything but useful.
Accused of harming the mental health of children, tick is the subject of an investigation into his algorithms and methods of marketing to young people, a procedure initiated by the American authorities who are struggling to respond to the challenges of society set by social networks. A coalition of eight US states, including California and Florida, announced on Wednesday the launch of an investigation into a very popular application, known for short, music or parody videos, skillfully selected algorithms to the taste of users.
The authorities are to blame TikTok, a subsidiary of the Chinese group ByteDance, to encourage children to spend more and more time there. in the USA, TikTok is available to children under the age of 13 as long as they use a version modified for them.
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“Our children are growing up in the age of social media – and many feel the need to measure up to these filtered versions of reality they see on their screens.”said Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general in a press release. “We know that this has devastating effects on the mental health and well-being of children. But we don’t know what the companies themselves knew and since when. “, he added. The investigation follows an investigation conducted by many public prosecutors at Meti, Facebook’s parent company.
They blame the social media giant for promoting Instagram to a younger audience and ignoring internal reports of the suffering the app may be causing, according to documents revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen in the fall.
Their own research “shows that the use of Instagram is associated with increased risks of damage to the physical and mental health of young people, including depression, eating disorders and even suicide,” said then-Massachusetts prosecutor Maura Healey.
“Meta failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead decided to ignore, and in some cases even intensify, practices that pose a real threat to physical and mental health – thus exploiting children for profit.”she asserted.
TikTok is progressing
TikTok he responded to the announcement of the investigation by promising to “provide information on many of the privacy and security mechanisms we have for teenagers,” a spokesman said. “We are very concerned about building an experience that supports the well-being of our community, and we appreciate that state attorneys are focused on the safety of the youngest users.”.
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American states want to examine the techniques they use TikTok to encourage young people to spend more time there, to react to content and to communicate with creators, they said in a press release mentioning California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. “It’s about protecting children and supporting parents”assured Vermont Attorney General Thomas Donovan.
Instagram suspended the development of its version for children under the age of 13 in September, but in general, the objections and accusations of elected officials and prosecutors had little tangible impact on the companies concerned.