States Investigate TikTok Over Alleged Harms to Kids and Young Adults

TikTok gets pursued by the prosecutionIf a bunch of state attorney generals investigates a company in tech, moral panic or authoritarianism can result. This has been seen with Craigslist, which was forced to drop adult ads and Backpage. It was also shut down for refusing. This has been seen with Google and Facebook. Bogus antitrust lawsuits followed. This prohibitionist pack animal is now targeting TikTok, the highly-popular short-video platform.

California, Florida (Fla.), Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Jersey are all participating in this investigation. These states’ attorneys general say that they will investigate whether TikTok is harmful for children, teenagers, and young adults, as well as whether TikTok executives are aware of this.

“As teens and children already deal with the issues of anxiety and social pressure and depression,” said Maura Shealey, Massachusetts attorney-general.

The prosecutors give vague approval to the consumer protection laws in order to clarify how they can do this.

TikTok is not supported by the prosecution wantsTo harm children, or even to attempt it. But it’s not fair to tech companies. May—even inadvertently—cause distress to young people is a popular political pastime these days. (See Congress and Instagram. You’ll also notice the scope has expanded beyond children and young people. For adults, too.

But the whole business stinks of performative nonsense—a way to appear proactive, protective, and progressive while circling the wagons around an easy scapegoat.

TikTok, and other social media platforms, can be a source of psychological distress for children. This is primarily because they encourage envy, negative interactions, comparisons with others, jealousy, and negative feelings towards one another. These issues are human, and not technology-related.

No amount of algorithm tweaks or targeted-ad bans—which are the kind of things politicians propose as remedies—can change these factors. Nothing can change these factors except for banning the use of social media.

It is also interesting that tech only gets investigated when there are many other factors that could exacerbate anxiety and social pressure. SchoolsFor example, stress can be a significant source of stress due to academic expectations, peer pressure, bullying, and other potential problems.

OK,You say: However, school can have useful characteristics. Administrators cannot be expelled from school because they make some students feel bad.These are both true of TikTok. We can say that TikTok does not have any psychological or social value for teens.

What about fashion magazines? Celebrity news What TV shows and movies are targeted at teenagers? Are videogames for teens? Music that is sad or crazy? Television commercials about weight loss Texting?

All the mentioned have been accused at some point of inciting mental distress, poor habits or isolation among young people. These things are also alleged to have been proven by studies. Of course, much of this research—or at least the conclusions politicians and pundits draw from it—has been flawed, plagued by that great destroyer of rational conclusions everywhere: misplaced causation and correlation.

People will notice that teenagers who are more interested in X (think: looking at celebrities magazines, reading TV shows, gaming, TikTok, Instagram) do more. People will notice that teens who do more of X (looking at celebrity magazines, playing video games, etc.) exhibit more of the following negative trait: depression, anxiety and negative self-image. They blame X. causingThese traits are what scientists call Science. However, this is not the truth of the research. It merely finds a connection and not how it flows. It’s just as likely—perhaps more so—that feelings of self-doubt, sadness, or social isolation may drive young people to partake in more of X, relative to teens who are better-adjusted, have more friends, are involved in more outside activities, etc.

Even though some of these items may cause negative emotions in some people, Americans don’t suggest (anymore) that teens magazines, emo music, weight loss programs, and other related topics be strictly regulated or punished for their authors.

People can see the problem with non-tech activities. They can see that banning or hyper-regulating things over these concerns would be too much—too heavy-handed, a violation of free speech or free markets, a step toward authoritarianism. While they recognize that not all entertainments or divertissements are beneficial for all, it is possible to acknowledge this without thinking that these evil men must be imprisoned.

Digital media is no different. Even if fewer people can clearly see the message, these same principles are still true. They are even true despite the pretense of being tough on tech companies by prosecutors. For the childrenAnd not just for the possible settlement money and publicity it may bring.


Texas won’t look into the family of a transgender teenager.An interim stoppage was ordered by a judge in the state against the new policy of child abuse that is being implemented against the transgender family.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared that providing any of what’s come to be known as “gender affirming care”—including hormone therapies and puberty blockers—to a minor should be considered child abuse and parents who allow these treatments prosecuted. On behalf of the family under investigation, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Texas ACLU of Texas sued.

The mother in this family—referred to in court documents as Jane Doe—works at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and was placed on leave because of medical care being provided to her transgender daughter (“Mary Doe”). Investigators conducted interviews with the family to obtain Mary’s medical records.

Now Judge Amy Clark Meachum of Travis County District Court has given a temporary order of restraining. This means that the state can halt its investigation of Doe’s family. But, this judge’s order does not prevent the enforcement of the policy to a greater extent. Next hearing is set for March 11. The broader policy will also be discussed at that time.

The judge’s entire order can be viewed here.


Is it possible for doctors to be inadvertently guilty of drug trafficking.Supreme Court will be examining how Controlled Substances Act applies to physicians prescribing opioid medication. Patients and doctors should be concerned about this issue, since the possibility of criminal prosecution for medically inappropriate prescribing can have a chilling affect on pain treatment. There are reasonsJacob Sullum from the University of Michigan explains. Several justices seemed alarmed that doctors might unwittingly be guilty of drug trafficking—which has been the positions of two federal appeals courts:

U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, ruled that a doctor’s belief in good faith that he dispensed a controlled drug during the normal course of their professional practice does not affect whether he has violated the CSA. The 11th Circuit rejected appeal by a Mobile, Alabama pain specialist for prescribing opioids in a way that was not consistent with accepted practice. It didn’t matter, according to the 11th Circuit At allWhether XiuluRuan believed he was performing the duties of a doctor.

It is the second case involving drug-trafficking doctors that the Supreme Court is currently reviewing. U.S. Court of Appeals of the 10th Circuit ruled that a doctor’s good will does not matter when it comes to determining whether the prescriptions were given in accordance with “the usual course of profession.” It stated that this must be done objectively. Casper, Wyoming doctor Shakeel KAHN was sent to prison for 25 years.


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