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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

UT sues TikTok, alleging negative mental-health impacts on youths

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Wednesday, October 11, 2023   

On Tuesday, the state of Utah announced it is suing TikTok as it claims the social media platform "baits children into addictive and unhealthy use."

Gov. Spencer Cox said at a news conference the platform promotes children to stay online for hours at a time.

Recent research shows adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes such as depression and anxiety.

"We will not stand by while these companies fail to take adequate, meaningful action to protect our children," Cox asserted. "We will prevail in holding social media companies accountable by any means necessary."

TikTok responded to the lawsuit by saying it has safeguards in place to mitigate excessive usage. Last year Cox enacted an order prohibiting state employees to download or use the TikTok app on any state-owned devices due to security concerns.

Sean Reyes, Attorney General, said the lawsuit is the result of what he considers TikTok's violation of multiple provisions within Utah's Consumer Sales Practices Act. He called the harm produced by social media "pervasive," as nearly all adolescents engage with social media. Reyes argued the app's algorithm "intentionally creates" addictive behaviors in children.

"TikTok designed these features to mimic a cruel slot machine that hooks kids' attention and does not let them go," Reyes contended. "Even worse, TikTok has trained its computer program to continuously learn how to better manipulate our kids."

Reyes alleged TikTok has been dishonest to parents because he said the social media giant has "created a false sense of security" by standing behind the safety guidelines and provisions it enforces. He argued the only way for TikTok to change its practices is if it is put at legal risk.


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