TikTok unveils stronger privacy settings for minors amid criticism

By Anju T K, Intern Reporter
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Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok has unveiled stronger privacy settings for minors, in response to complaints that it has failed to safeguard kids from hidden advertising and harmful content.

The adjustments, which are aimed towards users aged 13 to 17, will be rolled out globally in the following months, according to TikTok. Before kids can publish their videos, a pop-up will appear asking teenagers under the age of 16 to select who can watch them.

In a blogpost, Ms. Alexandra Evans, TikTok’s head of child safety public policy and its global head of privacy, Ms. Aruna Sharma remarked that “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.”

Accounts of 16 and 17-year-olds will have their direct messaging settings set to “no one.” The option can be modified by the user. TikTok has announced that it will shorten the time that users under the age of 18 receive push alerts. From 9 P.M., people aged 13 to 15 will no longer receive push notifications, while those aged 16 and 17 will no longer receive them until 10 P.M.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has exploded in popularity around the world, particularly among teens. However, a series of incidents have raised questions about the company’s privacy and security practices.

According to business publication Nikkei Asia, which cited a global poll of app downloads, TikTok will surpass Facebook as the most downloaded app in the globe in 2020.

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