Has the social media platform TikTok violated consumer protection laws in New Jersey and across the country?

There is an investigation underway to find out for sure.

On Wednesday, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that they are co-leading a multistate investigation into whether TikTok is violating state consumer protection laws by inducing young people to use the platform in ways that are potentially damaging and putting them at risk of mental and physical harm.

“Many parents and child advocates are rightfully concerned about the impact of social media usage on young people’s safety and wellbeing,”Acting Attorney General Platkin said in a written statement. “If social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are violating our laws and exposing young users to psychological and physical harms, we will hold them accountable.”

This investigation comes months after then Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced that New Jersey was co-leading an investigation into whether Instagram and their parent company, Facebook/Meta Platforms Inc., were trying to commit similar consumer violations that TikTok is now being investigated for here in 2022.

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With regard to TikTok, Acting Attorney General Platkin explained that this investigation will look into what TikTok is doing to increase the number of users and the amount of time spent on their platform, and how often they go on the app, specifically children, teenagers, and young adults.

The investigation looks to determine as well what harms result from this continuous behavior and what TikTok knows about such harms.

“Failing to protect the mental health of children is a serious allegation,” Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, Sean P. Neafsey, said in a written statement.  “We will investigate and hold accountable any company that fails to curb the known harmful effects of a product.”

New Jersey is joined in the TikTok investigation by a bipartisan group of Attorneys General representing Nebraska, California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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