TikTok users aged 16 years and below will now have their accounts automatically set to private as the company intensifies its fight against online abuse. The short video making app has been putting together measures as it prioritizes child safety on the platform.
In April 2020, TikTok banned private messaging for users under 16 years old to foster the ‘digital wellbeing’ of young TikTok users.
“This is a bold move by TikTok as we know that groomers use direct messaging to cast the net widely and contact large numbers of children. Offenders are taking advantage of the current climate to target children spending more time online. But this shows proactive steps can be taken to make sites safer and frustrate groomers from being able to exploit unsafe design choices.” the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) child safety online policy head Andy Burrows said at the time.
“It’s time tech firms did more to identify which of their users are children and make sure they are given the safest accounts by default.” he added.
The new move to privatize under-16s accounts means that only approved followers can comment on their videos while those aged between 13 to 15 years old can approve friends for comments and choose whether to make their videos public.
TikTok said that it hoped that the new measures would encourage young users to “actively engage in their online privacy journey.”