TikTok introduces radical privacy changes for minor users
While these changes are bound to trigger abacklash from the app’s younger users globally, it is unlikely that the company will lose many users to competing apps.
In a move directed at allaying fears that the app has a detrimental effect on children’s privacy, TikTok on Wednesday announced a slew of privacy-related changes to their service for minors on the app.
The popular video-sharing service has turned on privacy settings “by default” for all users up to the age of 15, which means that their accounts will automatically be made private. It doesn't stop them from making the account public again, but once the company makes their accounts private, only people they allow will be able to see their videos.
These younger users will also have new limits on who can send them direct messages and users around the world won’t be able to download any videos that they upload. They will also not be able to use their videos in ‘Duets’, another popular feature in the app. Younger users will not be able to re-enable these features, which have quickly grown to make it one of the most popular video-sharing platforms in the world and the highest-grossing app globally with over $540 million in profit, according to ET Brand Equity.
In a blog post, Eric Han, the Head of Safety for TikTok US stated that the company would continue to ‘accommodate’ users under 13 in the US under the limited app experience called ‘TikTok for younger users’. Users under 13 are only shown a curated library of videos as opposed to the rest of the platform. The company has partnered with Common Sense Networks to “provide additional guidance on the appropriateness of content for children under 13” as part of the privacy changes.
These changes will go into effect wherever TikTok is available, which excludes India where the app continues to remain banned by the government as part of a more comprehensive ban on Chinese-origin applications. While these changes are bound to trigger a backlash from the app’s younger users globally, it is unlikely that the company will lose many users to competing apps.