TikTok strengthens privacy and safety features to enhance user experience for younger users




TikTok has announced that it will be changing the default privacy settings for all registered accounts for ages between 13 – 15 to private. With a private TikTok account, only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos.

In addition to this, TikTok also announced changes for users under 18 years aimed at driving higher default standards for user privacy and safety.

Here are some of the changes that TikTok is rolling out to promote a safe experience for our younger users:

  • Tightening the options for commenting on videos created by those ages 13-15. These users can now choose between Friends or No One for their account; the Everyone comment setting is being removed.
  • Changing Duet and Stitch settings to now make these features available on content created by users age 16 and over only. For users ages 16-17, the default setting for Duet and Stitch will now be set to Friends.
  • Allowing downloads of videos that have been created by users 16 and over only. Other users can decide whether they want to allow downloads of their videos, though for users ages 16-17 the default setting will now be changed to Off unless they decide to enable it.
  • Setting “Suggest your account to others” to Off by default for users ages 13-15.

In a blog post, Eric Han, TikTok’s Head of US Safety, noted that even though the platform knows that “creativity and expression are personal”, so is privacy.

“That’s why we empower our community with a range of controls to manage their online presence. As young people start their digital journey, we believe it’s important to provide them with age-appropriate privacy settings and controls. Today we’re announcing changes for users under age 18 aimed at driving higher default standards for user privacy and safety,” noted Han in the post published on January 13, 2021 when the new changes took effect.

Enhanced default privacy settings

As part of the changes, TikTok is changing the default privacy setting for all registered accounts ages 13-15 to private. With a private TikTok account, only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos.

“We want our younger users to be able to make informed choices about what and with whom they choose to share, which includes whether they want to open their account to public views. By engaging them early in their privacy journey, we can enable them to make more deliberate decisions about their online privacy,” stated Han.

According to Han, adjusting TikTok’s default account settings to support stronger user privacy is a meaningful step in the platform’s ongoing commitment to keeping its younger users safe. The changes build on previous updates TikTok has made to promote youth safety, including:

  • Restricting the buying, sending, and receiving of virtual gifts to users 18 and over.
  • Enabling parents and caregivers to set guardrails on their teen’s TikTok experience through our Family Pairing features.

 

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