TikTok tightens up privacy features for younger users

A month after ordering federal regulators to reveal how its practices affect children and teens, TikTok is tightening its privacy practices for those under the age of 18.

Starting Wednesday, accounts with users between the ages of 13 and 15 will be private with the default privacy setting. This means that only the person who is approved by the user as a follower can view their videos, which was not the case before. But teens can still change this setting to general if they want to.

Older teens will not see this default setting change. For users between the ages of 16 and 17, the default setting to allow people to download their created videos will be “Off” instead of “On.”

TikTok also blocks the ability for users to download videos created by those 15 years of age or younger. This age group will also see direct messages restricted and will not be able to host live broadcasts.

TikTok is very popular among teens and toddlers. A feature called TikTok offers younger users pre-defined “age-appropriate” videos. The feature was added after settling previous FTC allegations, Musica.ly, that it illegally collected personal information from children, and also agreed to pay $ 5.7 million.

Meanwhile, a tool called “Family Pairing” allows parents to link their TikTok account to their teens’ account to enable content and privacy settings.

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission asked TikTok’s parent company, along with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and five other social media companies, to provide detailed information about how consumers’ personal data are collected and used and how their practices affect children and teens.

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TikTok users are required to record their birthday when signing up for the service, but, as with other social media platforms, there is no real verification to ensure its accuracy.

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