TikTok has announced new measures to safeguard the privacy of teens on its platform. The ultra-popular short-form video-sharing app is introducing several restrictions to the TikTok experience of minors aged 13 to 17.
First up, TikTok will disable Direct Messages (DM) by default for users aged 16 and 17 who are joining the platform for the first time. They’ll have to manually turn on DMs where they can select who can send them messages. Existing users in this age group who haven’t used DMs before will also be notified to review their message settings when they use it the next time. TikTok already has messaging disabled for teens under the age of 16.
TikTok also has Duet and Stitch features disabled for users aged 13 to 15. Going forward, the visibility of their videos will be set to private by default. They will have to decide who can see their videos on TikTok before sharing. They can choose between Friends and Followers. The “Everyone” option is turned off for users of this age group. They cannot publish their first video until they make a selection.
Next up, we have restrictions on who can download minors’ public videos as well. TikTok already doesn’t let anyone download videos of users under the age of 16. The feature is also turned off by default for users aged 16 and 17. And if they opt to turn on downloads, the app will now show a pop-up with context on how downloads work.
“Other people will be able to download your videos and share downloads on other platforms,” the pop-up reads. Users will need to confirm their choice to enable downloads.
TikTok will also automatically turn off notifications for teens
Last but not least, TikTok wants to encourage safer and less addictive usage of its platform, especially for users in the lower age group. Accounts aged 13 to 15 will have push notifications automatically turned off at 9 pm local time. Similar restrictions will apply to accounts in the age group 16 to 17 an hour later, i.e. at 10 pm local time. TikTok doesn’t specify when push notifications will resume, or if users have to manually turn it on.
TikTok has been working on improving the privacy and security of users on its platform with new measures. The latest set of measures will surely go a long way in making the platform safer for minors, the most vulnerable group of users, as well as ensuring their well-being. But the company notes that there’s “no finish line” for these efforts. It has more in store and will announce them over the coming months.