When a young teenager signs up for TikTok, their account will now be more private by default. TikTok said today that it updates the default settings for users ages 13 to 15, which limits who can watch and comment on their videos. Only users that they add as friends can watch their videos and their account will not be suggested to other users.
TikTok will also completely disable the ability to let anyone comment on these users’ videos, even if they publish their account. Users between 13 and 15 can only allow their friends to comment on their videos, or they can turn comments off completely.
For users between 16 and 17, TikTok disables the ability to download their videos by default, limiting the Duet and Stitch features to their friends only.
The pack of tweaks should add up to a TikTok that is more protective of its youngest users. These users can still pretty much use TikTok as anyone else can, but the app does more to protect these users and their videos from society as a whole.
TikTok has gradually added more privacy checks to teen accounts over the past year. In 2020, the app began allowing parents to remotely set restrictions on a child’s account and later let parents also customize their child’s privacy settings. TikTok also previously disabled direct messaging for users under 16 years of age.
This is all a significant turnaround from how TikTok’s predecessor handled children’s accounts. TikTok had to pay $ 5.7 million in 2019 to settle allegations that the older app, Musical.ly, did not get parental approval for children under 13. TikTok now has a separate app experience called “TikTok for Younger Users” that just shows curated videos.