TikTok announced changes for users under age 18 aimed at driving higher standards of  privacy and safety by default. The popular social media platform wants their younger users to be able to make informed choices about their privacy and whom they share their content with. As young people are at their early stages in their digital journey, TikTok believes it’s important to provide them with age-appropriate privacy settings and controls to help manage their online presence.

Enhanced Default Privacy Settings:

Starting today, TikTok is changing the default privacy setting for all registered accounts ages 13-15 to PRIVATE. With a private TikTok account, only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos. The company wants users to be able to make informed choices about what and with whom they choose to share, which includes whether they want to open their account to public views. By engaging them early in their privacy journey, this enables users to make more deliberate decisions about their online privacy.

Tightening the options for commenting on videos created by those ages 13-15. These users can now choose between Friends or No One for their account; the Everyone comment setting is being removed.

Changing Duet and Stitch settings to now make these features available on content created by users 16 and over only. For users ages 16-17, the default setting for Duet and Stitch will now be set to Friends.

Allowing downloads of videos that have been created by users 16 and over only. Other users can decide whether they want to allow downloads of their videos, though for users ages 16-17 the default setting will now be changed to Off unless they decide to enable it.

Setting “Suggest your account to others” to Off by default for users ages 13-15.

In the news release, the company says by adjusting TikTok’s default account settings to support stronger user privacy is a meaningful step in their ongoing commitment to keeping younger users safe. These changes build on previous updates including restricting direct messaging and hosting live streams to accounts 16 and over, and enabling parents and caregivers to set guardrails on their teen’s TikTok experience through our Family Pairing features. More info here. 

“MediaSmarts’ research has shown that young people care strongly about protecting their privacy, but that they are also strongly influenced by the default settings of the platforms they use. Changing the defaults is a positive first step to respect young people’s developing understanding of privacy, by helping them manage who sees and interacts with their content.” – Kathryn Ann Hill, Executive Director, MediaSmarts.