August 12, 2022

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Missouri, Illinois be a part of probe into TikTok’s ‘bodily and psychological well being harms’

ST. LOUIS — There are one billion customers on the app TikTok and it raked in 4.6 billion {dollars} in income in 2021. On Wednesday, Missouri and Illinois’ legal professional generals introduced they’re becoming a member of in on a bipartisan nationwide investigation into TikTok.

In line with a launch despatched from the Missouri Workplace of the Lawyer Basic, the investigation will look into TikTok reportedly, “offering and selling its social media platform to youngsters and younger adults whereas use is related to bodily and psychological well being harms.

“Attorneys Basic nationwide are analyzing whether or not the corporate violated state shopper safety legal guidelines that put the general public in danger,” the discharge acknowledged.

Shannon Paddock, who spoke with FOX 2 final week after a member of the family was cyberbullied on TikTok, mentioned the investigation is giving her hope for change.

“After I first came upon I used to be a little bit shocked, after which I used to be tremendous excited. I assumed lastly one thing is going on,” Paddock mentioned. “It’s a aid, however I additionally really feel like that is just the start.”

Paddock mentioned regardless of a number of customers reporting a video cyberbullying a Wentzville Center College pupil, TikTok didn’t take down the video till FOX 2 contacted the media division. It was an analogous story concerning a video utilizing a Parkway College District faculty emblem the week prior.

The Illinois Lawyer Basic mentioned the investigation will even “consider the harms TikTok utilization causes to younger customers and what the corporate knew about these harms.” 

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“I actually hope that each one social media platforms, not simply TikTok will be held accountable for what they’re doing,” Paddock mentioned.  “We shouldn’t await instances like this the place we’re reactive. We must be proactive with these items and have change, laws, legal guidelines, these sorts of issues so the social media platforms will be set as much as defend our kids.”

Tina Meier additionally is aware of the ache of cyberbullying hitting a household firsthand.

“My daughter Megan was 13 years previous and in 2006, she took her personal life after a girl down the road pretended to be a boy on myspace, it was a cyberbullying hoax,” she mentioned.

Meier began a basis in 2007 in her daughter’s honor to place an finish to bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide.

She mentioned she can be glad to see the investigation announcement and mentioned it’s by no means too late for change.

“My hope is that with extra states coming collectively it actually makes an impression,” Meier mentioned. “My hope is that they ensure that there’s stricter entry when they’re youthful, and ensuring likes and feedback, that they’re monitoring them.”  

Meier and Paddock each need social media apps to have stricter entry for youthful youngsters and provides mother and father, regulation enforcement, and colleges the flexibility to close down dangerous accounts shortly.

“As a mother or father when you’ve a baby who’s sitting at dwelling, sobbing as a result of one thing is on social media,” Meier mentioned. “And each single notification that occurs destroys that little one much more and as a mother or father, you are feeling helpless.”

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“TikTok generally is a chief. They’ve the chance,” Paddock mentioned.

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