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TikTok Reinforces Privacy Controls for Teenagers.

TikTok has announced a series of changes it says are designed to protect its teenage users' wellbeing.

  • Users aged 13-15 will not receive push notifications from 21:00 - and for 16- and 17-year-olds, from 22:00.

  • This is to help them focus on work, study, relaxation and sleep, the video-sharing app says.

  • It is also changing its default settings so 16- and 17-year-olds will have to opt in to receive direct messages.

TikTok on Thursday announced stricter privacy controls for teenagers, seeking to address criticism that it has failed to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content.

- TikTok

Owned by ByteDance, TikTok has grown rapidly around the world, particularly among teenagers. However a number of incidents have prompted concerns about its privacy and safety policies.

A pop-up will appear asking teenagers under the age of 16 to choose who can watch their videos before they can post them.

"The process of making a TikTok is fun and creative – choosing music, picking effects, and getting the transitions right – but it is just as important to choose who that video will be shared with," TikTok's head of child safety public policy, Alexandra Evans, and its global head of privacy, Aruna Sharma, said in a blogpost.

Users 16-17 years old can turn on a feature that lets a pop-up appear that allows them to choose who can download their public videos. Downloads are permanently disabled on content from accounts under the age of 16.

Direct Messaging settings for the accounts of 16 and 17 year olds will be set to "no one". Users can change the option.

The head of online child safety at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Andy Burrows, welcomed the new measures, saying TikTok was showing "industry leadership" and the move would reduce opportunities for offenders to groom children.

For example, Google announced ways to remove images of children from image search results and changes to its YouTube Kids product. Apple, meanwhile, is introducing new ways to detect child sexual abuse material and to warn parents if their children receive or send sexually explicit material.


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