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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is joining attorney generals from across the country in investigating the impact of TikTok on children and young adults.

According to a Wednesday announcement from his office, Ellison will join the investigation into TikTok’s effect on mental health and the techniques the video app uses to increase engagement and time spent on it.

“My job is to help Minnesotans of all ages live with dignity, safety, and respect. This is why I’ve joined a bipartisan, nationwide investigation into TikTok about its impact on younger users,” Ellison said in a statement.

“While I cannot provide detail about an active investigation, we will look into the harms that using TikTok may cause young users, and what TikTok knew about those harms.”

Business of Apps estimates that TikTok has around one billion users globally, with those aged under 18 accounting for around 28% of them, with those aged 19-29 around 35%. But the full figures are not known, and the number of youth users may be even higher, with the New York Times reporting in November that under 14s may account for as much as a third of users.

There have been reports about the potentially dangerous affect of apps like TikTok on children, with a Raw Story investigation in October finding that users can find themselves exposed to videos discussing suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders.

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The investigation is led by attorney generals from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

Ellison has previously been involved in a similar investigation. In November, he joined other attorney generals in investigating Meta Platforms – the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp – and the ways it promoted its products to children.

He was also part of a push by 44 attorney generals calling on Instagram to abandon plans for a platform geared toward children under 13 in May. 

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