The TikTok social media platform has made a number of changes to make it more secure for young users.
It comes after US federal agencies ordered TikTok to provide detailed information about how it collects and uses personal information from consumers and how its practices affect children and adolescents.
Among the changes that will take effect on Wednesday, the default privacy setting is private for accounts with users ages 13-15. This means that only someone the user approves as a follower can view their videos, which they didn’t before.
Older teenagers will not see this change from the default. For users aged 16 or 17, the default setting that allows users to download the videos they have created is now Off rather than On.
TikTok also blocks users from being able to download videos made by anyone under the age of 15. Direct messages are also restricted in this age group and live streams cannot be hosted.
In April 2020, a tool called “Family Pairing” was introduced, which parents can use to link their TikTok account to their child’s settings and to moderate content and privacy.
Andy Burrows, director of the online child safety policy at NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), welcomed the changes announced by the platform.
TikTok users are asked to provide their birthday when they sign up for the service. However, there is no real verification to make sure the ages listed are correct.