TikTok Tests Content Restrictions According to User Age

A spokesperson for popular short video-sharing app TikTok has said a small-scale test is being conducted to explore ways to grade and restrict content by age to prevent teenage users from seeing adult content, according to a report on Tuesday by Business Insider.

TikTok says it has learned from the content grading standards already used for movies and games, and will test a method to ask content creators on the app if they want their content to be watched only by adults.

However, unlike movie ratings, age ratings on TikTok will not be advertised directly to users. Instead, the system will run on the back end of the app and filter out content by age appropriateness before it appears on minors’ smartphones.

The TikTok spokesperson added, “We continue to invest in new ways to recommend content based on age appropriateness or family comfort. We are exploring ways to empower individuals and families to choose more content preferences for their accounts or their teenager kids through family matching.”

TikTok has been trying to introduce measures to protect teenagers using the platform. On August 13, 2021, TikTok announced stricter privacy protection controls for teenagers, seeking to resolve criticism that it was failing to protect kids from stealth advertising and inappropriate content.

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TikTok said at the time that these adjustments for users aged 13 to 17 would be implemented globally over the next few months. Teenage users under the age of 16 were to be presented with a pop-up window asking to choose who can watch their video before posting it. Users aged 16-17 can also now access a feature that allows them to choose who can download their public videos. Content of users under the age of 16 is permanently banned from downloading.

TikTok also said it would restrict the time of day for users under the age of 18 to receive push notifications. Users aged 13 to 15 will no longer receive push notifications after 9 p.m. every day, while users aged 16 and 17 will stop receiving them after 10 p.m.