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TikTok overhauls privacy settings for its teenage users

The changes will drive “higher default standards for user privacy and safety,” according to TikTok.

TikTok overhauls privacy settings for its teenage users
[Photo: cottonbro/Pexels; madartzgraphics/Pixabay]
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TikTok has announced broad and sweeping changes to the app’s privacy settings for its teenage users. The changes affect the default privacy settings for all users under the age of 18, though they are different depending on what age group you fall into if you’re under 18. Here’s how the changes break down:

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  • Age 13-15: All TikTok users who are between the ages of 13 and 15 have had their default privacy setting on their account changed to private. This setting means that other TikTok users must specifically request permission to see a private user’s videos and that private user must approve them before access to their videos is granted. Additionally, users aged between 13 and 15 can now only choose to allow friends or no one to comment on their videos. The “everyone” comment setting has been removed.
  • Additionally, for users 13 to 15, the “Suggest your account to others” setting is off by default.
  • Finally, TikTok has removed the ability for others to download or remix videos posted by users aged 13 to 15 with its Duet and Stitch tools.
  • Age 16-17: The default setting for TikTok’s Duet and Stitch tools for this age group will now be set to friends, though 16- and 17-year-old users can manually change this setting to allow others to use those tools on their videos again. Likewise, 16- and 17-year-old users will now have the setting allowing others to download their videos set to off by default, although they can choose to turn the download ability back on again.

All the changes above are effective today. Announcing the moves in a blog post, TikTok said the changes will drive “higher default standards for user privacy and safety.” Unlike other social media platforms, a huge number of TikTok’s users are below the age of 19, which means today’s changes will affect a large portion of the company’s user base. A July 2020 report from Statista says 32.5% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 19.

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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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