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article imageTikTok issues new features to protect privacy of young people

By Tim Sandle     Mar 13, 2021 in Internet
TikTok has introduced changes for users under age 18. These changes are aimed at driving higher standards of user privacy and safety by default.
The primary change is to the default privacy setting for all registered accounts for users that span the ages 13-15 to 'private'. This alteration means that with a private TikTok account, only someone who the user grants approval to as a follower can view any videos created by the user. Part of this program is to encourage younger users to make informed choices about what they share and with whom this content should be shared with. Whether all young people are able to weigh this up is a matter of debate and some parents may wish to make interventions.
The measures are designed to help address previously addressed privacy concerns. TikTok, like other social media outlets, has faced criticism over protecting the privacy of users.
READ MORE: Are additional security measures needed for TikTok/WeChat?
A further change is with tightening the options for commenting on videos made by teenagers. These users can now choose between 'Friends' or 'No One' for their account. Consequently, the previously available 'Everyone' comment setting has been deactivated. There are also changes made to the 'Duet' and 'Stitch' settings. This alteration means that such enhancements are available only on content created by users aged over 16. As a further protective measure, with users aged between 16 and 17, the default setting for 'Duet' and 'Stitch' is default set to 'Friends', although this can subsequently be adjusted.
A further update is to enable 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 has been changed to Off unless they decide to enable it. The new process also sets "Suggest your account to others" to 'Off' by default.
By adjusting TikTok's default account settings this shows that wider media pressures have moved TikTok to consider a new focus on user data privacy. Given that many users of social media are strongly influenced by the default settings of the platforms they use, to move to default private for young people at least means younger users need to weigh up what they need to change and why they might need to change it, rather than with this being something that they need to elect to do.
More about TikTok, Privacy, Social media
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