The popular social media app has made all accounts of 13-15-year-olds private by default in a bid to safeguard its youngest users.
- Only users they accept as friends are able to comment on their videos
- Their content cannot be downloaded
- The ‘suggest your account to other users’ feature is disabled
- No one can ‘duet’ or ‘stitch’ with their content
Some tighter safeguarding rules have also been placed on the app’s 16-17-year-old users: the ‘duet’ and ‘stitch’ features are set to ‘friends’ and the download setting on their content is disabled. However, users can enable this setting if they choose to.
In a statement published on its site, TikTok said: “As young people start their digital journey, we believe it's important to provide them with age-appropriate privacy settings and controls. Today [13th Jan] we're announcing changes for users under age 18 aimed at driving higher default standards for user privacy and safety.”
The move comes in the wake of criticism from the BBC that the online platform could be facilitating online grooming. The app is also facing legal challenges from a 12-year-old girl for “loss of control of personal data”.
This is not the first set of changes the site has made to its platform. Last year, it disabled the direct messaging and live stream functions on accounts for users under 16-years-old.
As per TikTok’s terms and conditions, users must be 13 years old or older to use the app.
During the pandemic, the app’s popularity has rocketed and is now estimated to have over one billion monthly users. The app boasts 2.6 billion downloads worldwide with over 3.7 million active users in the UK alone.
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