TikTok announces new age limits for live-streaming, ‘adults-only’ category for streams

TikTok is introducing measures in aim to improve the safety of its live-stream offering. Such measures involve increasing the minimum age requirement for live-streaming in the app, while also adding a new ‘adults-only’ live-stream category. 

The app is quoted as stating;
“Currently, people must be aged 16 or over to host a LIVE. From November 23rd, the minimum age will increase from 16 to 18. As we consider the breadth of our global audience, we already take a graduated approach to the features that our community can access based on their age; younger teens need to be aged 16 or older to access Direct Messaging and 18 or older to send virtual gifts or access monetization features.”

TikTok has already come under much scrutiny over the ways in which it incentivizes young people to post provocative, potentially risky material to grab the attention of viewers. I myself, as have many others, have received rather inappropriate comments on content that was never intended to be viewed as provocative but simply features semi-revealing clothing. 

As TikTok notes, over time, it’s been forced to reassess its various features and tools to ensure that teens are not unwittingly putting themselves at risk in the app. This update is the latest step in this, and it’s good to see TikTok working to take a more measured approach on this element, even at the risk of losing a level of user engagement as a result.

Other reasons to introduce an age cap are for specific types of content tailoring. “For instance, perhaps a comedy routine is better suited for people over age 18. Or, a host may plan to talk about a difficult life experience and they would feel more comfortable knowing the conversation is limited to adults. We want our community to make the most of the opportunities LIVE can bring without compromising on safety.” 

Could this therefore mean that TikTok could lean into even more controversial areas with its live broadcasts, if it has the licence to do so via adults-only streams? 

It must be clarified also that while TikTok is introducing age ranges it is by no means looking to introduce adult content and has not suggested, in any way, that it may look to revise its rules on this front. 

Additionally, TikTok is also looking to provide more guidance for live broadcasters to help them better moderate stream comments, with new reminders that will suggest key terms that they may want to consider adding to their filter list. The updated tool analyses the types of comments that a creator has most commonly removed from their streams, then suggests similar words and terms that the host may want to add to their filter list.

“When we tested this feature, we found that it nearly doubled those using keyword filtering when looking at the most popular LIVE creators.”

That could make live-stream management much more… manageable, by streamlining the process of filtering out unwanted comments, and keeping the conversation more focused.

A final addition is TikTok’s Multi-Guest feature for TikTok Live, which enables users to broadcast with up to five guests at a time using a grid or panel layout. 

These valuable updates for TikTok’s live-stream offering could also serve a key role in maximising take-up and utility, making live-streaming a bigger consideration for more eCommerce businesses and influencers in the app.

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