Safety designs, safety council: How TikTok keeps its young users safe on platform

January 30, 2024 - 1:52 PM
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TikTok Safety Council talk
TikTok Philippines public policy head Toff Rada, content creator Mona Magno-Veluz and TikTok outreach and partnerships Manager KahnJi Weerachaising discussing TikTok's safety measures for young users at the Manila House in the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on Jan. 25, 2024 (TikTok Philippines/Released)

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms among the younger generation.

How does it keep its minor users safe?

The platform said that local collaborations and partnerships ensure that Filipino teenagers have a safe and inclusive space to explore their creativity in the short-form video app.

TikTok reiterated its dedication to creating a secure and positive online environment for young users through a panel discussion that featured the following:

  • TikTok Philippines public policy head Toff Rada
  • TikTok outreach and partnerships Manager KahnJi Weerachaising
  • Mona Magno-Veluz, a content creator known as @mightymagulang and a Filipino member of TikTok’s Safety Advisory Council

According to them, the platform is dedicated to digital safety, inclusive guidelines, transparency in enforcement, empowering youth safety and collaborations with parents.

These are translated through some of the following initiatives:

‘Safety by Design’ approach

TikTok has controls that enable teens to have a safe and inclusive space where they can explore their creativity safely.

These include age-appropriate features like the “Duet” or “Stitch.” The platform said its users have to be at least 16 years old before they can access such options.

Users also have to be at least 18 years old to host a “Live” or send and receive gifts in the app.

Another feature is the “private by default” settings of user accounts belonging to teens ages 13 to 15 years old so only those they approve as followers can watch their clips.

There is also the “screen time management” feature which limits the daily screen time of accounts below 18 years old to 60 minutes. They can also get a weekly recap of their time on the platform.

Apart from that, accounts of ages 13 to 15 years old do not receive push notifications after 9 p.m. or after 10 p.m. for those ages 16-17 years old.

Rada said that TikTok is “committed to addressing long-running industry challenges around youth safety.”

“We’ve designed our app with safety in mind, implementing a ‘Safety by Design’ approach that ensures we are protecting our community. We’re dedicated to partnering with families as we share their interests in supporting teens as they start to explore the online world independently,” he added.

TikTok Safety Advisory Council 

The platform also has the Regional Safety Advisory Council (SAC) which comprises independent experts who help develop forward-looking policies and processes that address today’s challenges and plan for the next set of issues that the industry will face.

The council includes content creator and genealogist content creator Magno-Velez or @mightymagulang, the only Filipino in the group.

TikTok said council members would provide subject matter expertise and advice on the platform’s content moderation policies and practices to help shape regional and global guidelines.

Magno-Velez said that being part of it allows her to contribute to shaping “a safer and more inclusive digital space” from the perspective of a content creator.

“It’s an opportunity to represent the voices of Filipino users, ensuring that our community’s concerns and perspectives are taken into account in the development of TikTok’s safety policies,” she said.

Weerachaising also said that council members work collaboratively with them to “inform and strengthen” their policies, product features and safety processes.

“We have creators such as Mona to improve representation and deepen trust and safety understanding of the impacts policies, moderation, and the gaps and opportunities therein have on creators and their communities,” she said.

Other initiatives 

Apart from safety features and a safety council, the platform takes a proactive approach to crafting Community Guidelines that adapt to the evolving digital landscape while addressing emerging safety concerns.

Moreover, TikTok holds consultations with government agencies, diversity experts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and teens to ensure that its policies align with local and global best practices. The initiative also fosters diversity and inclusivity within a secure and positive digital space.

The platform also said that it has over 40,000 safety professionals dedicated to keeping TikTok safe.

This team includes thousands of moderators around the world to provide the platform with around-the-clock support to review content that may violate its policies.

They are trained to review and take action on content that may violate TikTok’s minor safety policies more broadly.