TikTok tightens privacy features for U16 teens
TikTok user accounts will be set to private-by-default if they are under the age of 16, as part of a new privacy update rolled out this week.
Previously, users across the platform were able to view and engage with any other user’s profile and associated content.
However, this update will require U16 users to approve followers in order to view and interact with their profile and videos.
Commenting on the update, TikTok’s head of privacy in Europe, Elaine Fox, said that the platform wants to encourage young users to actively engage in their online privacy journey.
“We hope to inspire [younger users] to take an active role and make informed decisions about their online privacy,” Fox added.
This new measure arrives alongside a suite of additional changes aimed at improving safe experiences for young creators.
This will include removing the ability to download videos created by users under 16, and setting the feature to “suggest your account to others” to “off” by default.
Additional changes rolled out today include removing the “everyone” comment setting from U16 users videos, so that only friends - or no one - can comment on their content.
Head of child safety Alexandra Evans described how this marks the next step in TikTok’s mission to ensure a safe platform for all users.
“We are continuously evolving our policies and investing in our technology and human moderation teams so that TikTok remains a safe place for all our users to express their creativity,” Evans said.
The tightening of options for interacting and viewing videos created by those aged 13-15 builds on previous changes to promote young user safety such as restricting direct messaging, hosting live streams, and providing caregivers and parents with access to young user’s accounts through the Family Pairing feature.