Nov 17, 2020 - Technology

TikTok beefs up parental controls

Photo illustration of the TikTok logo displayed on a smartphone
Photo illustration: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

TikTok is expanding the ways parents can control how their children use the video-sharing app, according to a company blog post Tuesday.

The big picture: TikTok has sought to position itself as a fun and safe portal in the face of political headwinds over its Chinese ownership and as it watches more established peers wrestle with thorny content moderation challenges.

Driving the news: The new tools build on TikTok's "Family Pairing" feature, which allows parents to control how long their kids spend on the app and who can message them. The new features include parental controls over:

  • Whether or not teens can search for content.
  • Whether or not their accounts are private, or discoverable to any user.
  • Who can comment on their videos.

Flashback: TikTok this spring disabled direct messages for users under 16, and rolled out its Family Pairing tool.

  • The focus on beefed-up protections for underage users follows a 2019 fine from the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that TikTok predecessor app Musical.ly collected data from minors in violation of federal law.
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