The popular Chinese video-sharing application TikTok has announced a new policy with “groundbreaking” restrictions for users under 18 years of age in an attempt to prevent grooming on the social media platform, reported Guardian.
The new TikTok policy particularly applies to users under 16 and restricts some of the features earlier available to children on the platform, including the ability to receive comments from strangers, have their videos used for “duets” or make their posts available for download.
Their accounts will default to “private” in an attempt to prevent strangers having access to their videos on the social media platform.
It is pertinent to mention that TikTok is changing default settings across the application for users under 18 years old which means that unless they actively change these settings, all users aged 16 and 17 will also have their videos made unavailable for download and only friends will be able to record duets on the social media platform.
“The groundbreaking changes announced today mark the next step in our mission to ensure TikTok is a safe platform for all our users,” said Alexandra Evans, TikTok’s European head of child safety.
“They build on previous changes we’ve made to promote minor safety, including restricting direct messaging and hosting livestreams to [users aged] 16 and over and enabling parents and caregivers to set guardrails for their teen’s TikTok account through our Family Pairing feature.”
“We know there is no finish line when it comes to minor safety, and that is why we are continuously evolving our policies and investing in our technology and human-moderation teams so that TikTok remains a safe place for all our users to express their creativity.” she added.
The new policy means that a lot of young users below the age of 16 will loose access to many of the app’s core features, however, this step is being praised by many as it is extremely important to ensure safety of children online of such platforms.
However, the company has confirmed that the age of users will be determined through the date of birth entered at the time of account creation, which still leaves a loophole for these young users to get full access to the platform.
TikTok has to step up their moderation and make sure all accounts with supposed fake date of births are terminated, which will prove to be a difficult task.
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