This story is a staff report from The Paper.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Hector Balderas joined a nationwide investigation into TikTok for providing and promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys General nationwide are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

“Big tech must become more responsible for negative long-term harms to our young people,” said Balderas.

The investigation will look into the harms such usage causes to young users and what TikTok knew about those harms. The investigation focuses, among other things, on the techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform. 

 In May 2021, a bipartisan coalition of 44 Attorneys General urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13. In November 2021, Attorneys General from across the country announced their investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform Instagram to kids.

Balderas has been a leader in the tech privacy space through his lawsuits against Google, Facebook, and others. He now joins a bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont. They are joined by a broader group of Attorneys General from across the country.