Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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TikTok announces more Privacy protections for teenaged users by limiting Push Notifications

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TikTok becomes the latest tech company to roll out increased protections for minors on its platform in the wake of increased regulatory scrutiny. The company says it will introduce a series of product changes for teen users aged 13 to 17, aimed at making their TikTok experience more private, safer and less addictive. TikTok’s news follows similar moves recently announced by other tech companies catering to teens, including Google and YouTube, as well as Instagram.

Perhaps the most notable tweak is to push notifications. TikTok will prevent them from appearing late in the day for teenage users, citing the need to create “positive digital habits early on.” “Accounts aged 13-15 will not receive push notifications from 9 pm, and accounts aged 16-17 will have push notifications disabled starting at 10 pm,” the app said.

TikTok announces more privacy protections for teenaged users, limit push notifications

Another change involves receiving and sending direct messages. “When someone aged 16-17 joins TikTok, their Direct Messaging setting will now be set to ‘No One’ by default. To message others, they will need to actively switch to a different sharing option,” the app said. For existing users in the age group that have never used the DM function, TikTok will issue a prompt asking them to review and confirm their privacy settings.

Teens under the age of 16 will also see a pop-up the first time they publish a video on TikTok. It’s designed to let them control which users can see the video and whether comments will be allowed. “They won’t be able to publish their video until they make a selection,” TikTok said.

“We’re also providing additional context to help teens aged 16-17 understand how downloads work, so they can choose the option that’s most comfortable for them,” the app added. “If they opt to turn the feature on, they’ll now receive a pop-up asking them to confirm that choice before others can download their videos.”

The changes build on top of earlier safeguards TikTok implemented, which include making accounts belonging to users under the age of 16 private by default. Users under the age of 16 are also barred from receiving direct messages from others. Expect the newest safeguards to arrive at all teenage users in the coming months.

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