TikTok is reviewing its copy and intends to secure its platform for the youngest. The Chinese firm will limit some of its features for underage users.
With 800 million active users worldwide, TikTok’s success is well established. The video-sharing platform appeals to many Internet users and especially among the youngest. According to figures from Globalwebindex, in 2019, 41% of them were between 16 and 24 years old. Some are even younger since the age limit is set at 13 years. To secure its social network, and certainly protect the most vulnerable from online harassment, TikTok is changing its policy and will block certain features. Thus, TikTok accounts held by children aged 13 to 15 will automatically be configured privately. Concretely, they will only be accessible to the user’s friends. The new measure will apply to both already active accounts and those of newcomers. On the side of the comment space also TikTok is reviewing its copy. Two configurations will be available: “Friends only” or ” nobody “. Concretely, it will not be possible to comment before having been invited to do so. This is a functionality substantially identical to that offered by Twitter since this year. Finally, TikTok will also prevent young users from downloading videos and they will not will no longer be able to duo. It must be said that the feature has been widely used on the social network in the context of online harassment. Teenagers, between 16 and 17 years old, will be able to continue to enjoy it, but under certain conditions. By default, duets will only be allowed to friends, although it will be possible to return to the classic configuration with a quick turn in the settings.
TikTok in the sights of the American Center for Digital Democracy
These new measures, although rather promising, will not reassure the many defenders of children’s rights online. The Center for Digital Democracy, a coalition of major US children’s and privacy groups, filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last May. The CDD urged the institution to investigate and sanction the social network for ” changing children’s lives by violating the protection of their online privacy. ” In 2019, TikTok had already had to free itself from a fine of $ 5.7 million to get illegally collected children’s personal data who use their social network. One year later, “With quarantined children and families flocking to the site, TikTok has failed to remove information previously collected from children and continues to do so without prior notice or parental consent.” then explained the Center in a press release dated last May.
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