TikTok Tightens Privacy Controls for Teens

TikTok said it will reduce the period of time during which those under the age of 18 receive push notifications.

Chinese-owned short video sharing app TikTok announced stricter privacy controls for teens on Thursday, seeking to address criticism that it has failed to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content.

Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok has grown rapidly around the world, especially among teenagers. However, a series of incidents have raised concerns about its privacy and security policies, as reported by Reuters.

TikTok said the changes, targeting users ages 13-17, will roll out globally in the coming months.

A pop-up window will appear asking teens under 16 to choose who can view their videos before posting.

“The process of making a TikTok is fun and creative – choosing music, selecting effects, and making the right transitions, but it’s just as important to choose who that video will be shared with,” said TikTok’s head of public policy for child safety, Alexandra. Evans, and his global head of privacy, Aruna Sharma, said in a blog post.
Users aged 16-17 can activate a feature that allows a pop-up window to appear allowing them to choose who can download their public videos. Downloads are permanently disabled in the content of accounts under 16 years of age.

The direct messaging setting for 16 and 17 year old accounts will be set to “none”. Users can change the option.

TikTok said it will reduce the period of time during which those under the age of 18 receive push notifications. Those 13 to 15 years old will no longer receive automatic notifications starting at 9 p.m., while those of 16 and 17 years old starting at 10 p.m.