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Minnesota Joins Nationwide Investigation Into TikTok's Impact On Young Users

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The state of Minnesota is joining a nationwide investigation into TikTok for allegedly promoting videos associated with "physical and mental-health harms" to children and young adults.

"We have substantial reason to believe the way they designed their product invokes anxiety, stress," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said.

Ellison announced Wednesday that his office is joining the bipartisan investigation, saying that his team will look into the harms that using the popular social media platform may have for young users.

Focus will be put upon the techniques the platform uses to boost engagement among young users and what the company knows about harms it may be causing.

"I have friends where we'll grab a coffee and be on our phones just scrolling through," Eliza Roffers, from Edina, said.

Roffers, 20, said she can spend up to eight hours a day using the app.

"I think it's the fact that it's created so many trends and songs you watch a video and you're like, 'Oh, I want to try that,'" she said.

This isn't the first time that a social media giant has come under fire.

The company formerly known as Facebook rebranded to be called Meta in the fall after it was revealed its own research showed potential impacts on mental health.

This is not the first time that Ellison has expressed concerns over social media's impact on young people.

Last year, Ellison joined a bipartisan coalition with other attorneys general to urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

In a statement TikTok said: "We care deeply about building an experience that helps to protect and support the well-being of our community, and appreciate that the state attorneys general are focusing on the safety of young users.

Also part of the coalition investigating TikTok are attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

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