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TikTok Renders Underage User Accounts More Private By Default

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Chinese short-video making app TikTok on Wednesday introduced new privacy controls for teenagers (age 13-15) on its platform, saying their accounts will now be more private by default and strangers cant see or comment on their videos.

With a private TikTok account, only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos.

“We want our younger 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,” said Eric Han, Head of US Safety, TikTok.

The company tightened 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 and the ‘Everyone’ comment setting is being removed.

TikTok will allow 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,” Han informed.

Despite India ban and an ongoing legal battle in the US, Chinese short-video making app TikTok has become the highest grossing app globally in 2020 with $540 million in profit.

Han said that the company would continue to evolve its policies and work closely with regulators and experts in minor safety.

The app’s Duet and Stitch features, which allow users to repost and respond to another person’s video, will be disabled for videos posed by users under 16.

“These latest improvements from TikTok mark a major step forward in enhancing the privacy and safety of children on their platform,” said Iain Drennan, Executive Director, WeProtect Global Alliance.