TikTok users under the age of 16 will now have their accounts set to private by default
Will it make a difference?
TikTok is changing how accounts owned by anyone under 16 will work in an attempt to make the app safer to use. Now, all accounts of users under 16 will be set to private by default, limiting the types of interaction they can have with potential predators.
Now, those underage users will have to approve any follower requests, presumably with parental approval. That’s not the only privacy-focused change, as it also stops other users from downloading videos posted by anyone under 16, or using them as part of the key TikTok functionality “Duet and Stitch,” which allows users to use other user’s content in their own videos. “Duet and Stitch” will also be set to “friends only” for users who are 16 or 17 years of age.
The social media company has not said how many of its users this new change will affect, but an NYT report from August 2020 suggested that a third of the 49 million daily American users of the app were under 14.
TikTok has also announced a new partnership with Common Sense Networks, which will be providing guidance on the appropriateness of TikTok’s content that’s viewed by any users under the age of 13.
Will these changes make TikTok a safer place for younger users? The consensus seems to think so overall, with at least one voice saying that “prohibition is never a solution. The children and youth always find a way around it.”
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