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iphone user cellphone smartphone[Photo via Unsplash]

The short-form video platform TikTok is making big changes. The company announced today that they would be automatically disabling direct-messaging functionality to users under the age of 16. The move is a response to a FTC complaint that the company illegally acquired personal information of minors and children. It will take effect on April 30.

TikTok is also implementing a Family Pairing function allowing parents to link to their children’s accounts. They will have the option to activate a “restricted mode” setting to block content they may find questionable. Family Pairing will also allow parents to control and restrict DMs to their over-16 children, as well. It also gives parents the ability to limit daily time on TikTok.

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In a blog post on the company site, Jeff Collins, director of Trust and Safety for TikTok, discussed the changes. “Today, we are advancing our commitment to building for the safety of our users by introducing Family Pairing, which allows parents and teens to customize their safety settings based on individual needs. It is part of our continued work toward providing parents better ability to guide their teen’s online experience while allowing time to educate about online safety and digital citizenship.

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“With user safety in mind, we have many policies and controls in place for messaging already. Only approved followers can message each other. We don’t allow images or videos to be sent in messages. Starting April 30, we will be taking those protections one step further to younger members of our community We are automatically disabling Direct Messages for registered accounts under the age of 16.”

Starting today, users who would be affected by the policy change will receive in-app notifications.


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