Attorney General Kaul joins others in requesting an order Tik Tok preserve and produce communications

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 3:46 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Tik Tok has been put in the hot seat by attorneys general around the country for failing to provide information about internal communications.

Wisconsin Attorney General, Josh Kaul, joined other AGs in a 46 state coalition at the beginning of March to request an order for Tik Tok to comply with an investigation to see if the social media platform has violated consumer protection laws.

This February the CDC released the results of a 2021 study about mental health challenges in youth. It found nearly one-third of teenagers considered suicide.

At the beginning of March the Eau Claire City-County Health Department also shared data from its Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Public health Nurse Chelsie Klatt said it showed young females were more likely to engage in self harm.

“In 2021 looking at self-harm related hospital visits, for females there was, you know, if we look at the age range of 10 to 19, looking at that teenage range we are looking at like 1500 females to 100 males,” Klatt said.

Although self harm isn’t always tied to depression and anxiety Klatt said social media can have an impact on mental health challenges.

“Everyone can be impacted by what is seen on social media, but with the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, we know that youth are spending a lot more time on their devices, so you know they’re on Tik Tok more often,” Klatt said.

This connection to the mental health crisis is why Kaul is joining 46 other states in requesting an order for Tik Tok to preserve and produce communications.

“With Tik Tok you have a video service, we again have increasing data that the more that young people are using those services the more that there’s an impact on their well-being and mental health and so we want to make sure, again, that their are practices being used by those companies um that their lawful,” Kaul said.

The purpose of the order request is to get the courts to have Tik Tok produce documents with information about internal communications. The next step is to wait on a ruling from the courts.

“That process is ongoing when there are efforts to block access to documents, or there’s a failure to preserve them that can slow down the process,” Kaul said. “So it’s our hope that we will get these documents as soon as possible.”

Kaul said the overall goal of the order request is to spread awareness about the impact of social media on mental health and to encourage Wisconsinites and others to report consumer law violations to the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection.

To access mental health resources in the Chippewa Valley click here.