TikTok reportedly added more safety features for teens.
TikTok was reportedly adding more features aimed at protecting the privacy and safety of teens who used the short-form video app amid growing concerns about the impact of technology on young people.
CNET reported that parents, lawmakers, and advocacy groups have encouraged tech companies to focus more heavily on issues such as mental health and cyberbullying as teenagers spent more time on social media apps.
According to TikTok, users who were 16 or 17 years old will have their direct messages set to “No one” by default when they first joined the platform.
TikTok’s direct messaging settings were currently set to “Friends” by default, which means, users can receive messages from followers they followed back.
Also, teens who have never used direct messaging will receive a prompt asking them to review their privacy settings. Based on the report, TikTok already disabled messaging for under-16 users.
TikTok was also limiting when teens received push notifications that could entice them to spend more time on the platform.
Users between the ages of 13 to 15 won’t receive push notifications after 9:00 pm and teens who were 16 or 17 will have push notifications disabled at 10:00 pm.
TikTok was also introducing new pop-ups meant to make teens more aware of the app’s privacy settings. When under-16 users were about to publish their first video, they will also see a pop-up that asked who they wanted to let watch their video.
CNET also reported that teens 16 to 17 will also see a pop-up if they turned on video downloads and the prompt will tell the users that enabling the said option means other people will be able to download their videos and to share them on other platforms. Based on the report, video downloads were disabled for under-16 users.
The new controls TikTok announced came after the company last January made accounts for under-16 users private by default.
TikTok’s global minor-safety policy lead Tracy Elizabeth said that their priority was to ensure that teenagers on TikTok have a safe and age-appropriate experience as they created and shared on the platform.