TikTok changes settings for under-16s as it tightens privacy features for younger users

TikTok is tightening its privacy practices for the under-16 crowd, as the app introduces a series of measures to improve child safety.

Starting today, TikTok users under 16 will have their accounts set to private-by-default, which means only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos.

The change is part of a wider package of measures designed to drive higher standards of user privacy and safety.

The additional changes being rolled out today to promote a safe experience for our younger users include:

  • Tightening the options for commenting on videos created by those under age 16. Younger users can now choose between "friends" or "no one," and the "everyone" comment setting is being removed.

  • Removing the ability for others to Duet and Stitch with content created by those under 16. For users ages 16-17, the default settings of Duet and Stitch will now be set to "friends."

  • Removing the ability to download videos created by those under 16. For users ages 16-17, this function will now be set to "off" by default, with the option to allow downloads of videos if a user chooses.

  • Setting "suggest your account to others" to "off" by default for accounts under 16.

Elaine Fox, Head of Privacy, EMEA, said: "The privacy rights and online safety of our community is a top priority for TikTok, and we place a particular emphasis on the privacy and safety of our younger users, which is why we're making these significant changes.

"We want to encourage our younger users to actively engage in their online privacy journey, and by doing so early we hope to inspire them to take an active role and make informed decisions about their online privacy."

Alexandra Evans, Head of Child Safety, Europe, said: "The groundbreaking changes announced today mark the next step in our mission to ensure TikTok is a safe platform for all our users. They build on previous changes we've made to promote minor safety, including restricting direct messaging and hosting live streams to accounts 16 and over and enabling parents and caregivers to set guardrails for their teen's TikTok account through our Family Pairing feature.

"We know there is no finish line when it comes to minor safety, and that is why we are continuously evolving our policies and investing in our technology and human-moderation teams so that TikTok remains a safe place for all our users to express their creativity."