Streamers on TikTok can now target only adults, as the app has updated its livestream system to prevent underage users from going live.
In a recent blog post, TikTok detailed a number of updates to its livestream feature, such as improved gating options and enhanced creator resources. TikTok allows anyone over the age of 16 with at least 1,000 followers to begin a livestream, and anyone over the age of 18 can send and receive tips, which is one of the ways creators make money on the platform. As of the 23rd of November, only users 18 and up will be able to broadcast live.
"To protect our users and creators and support their well-being, we constantly work to evolve the safeguards we put in place," TikTok writes.
Livestream hosts will soon be able to restrict viewing to adults only if their content is mature in nature. Currently, users can find livestreams both on their For You page and on a dedicated Live feed. TikTok suggests that creators may want to use adult-only streams to talk about sensitive topics or perform comedic routines that they don't want children watching.
TikTok Live has quickly become an integral part of the platform's creators' workflow and a source of revenue for the company. Earlier this month, Rest of the World reported that TikTok owner ByteDance had partnered with influencer agencies that teach creators how to host livestreams and encourage viewers to tip them. According to Rest of World, TikTok and the intermediary agency share the profits from in-app purchases of virtual gifts.
People have figured out ways to manipulate the livestream tipping system as its popularity has grown. Scams and misinformation have also been spread through livestreams, such as when streamers benefited from selling fake footage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A BBC investigation published just last week detailed how Syrian families living in refugee camps were using live streams to ask their viewers for donations by providing them with the means to do so. TikTok made money in those cases, too, despite its policy against allowing the content. The company promised the BBC it would crack down on "exploitative begging" on its platform.
TikTok has released a number of updates, including improvements to security and new features for creators who broadcast live content on the platform. First, there is the ability to go live with up to five guests and a variety of layout choices. Livestream hosts will now receive a reminder from TikTok to add blocked keywords, and the app will also suggest additional words that hosts may want to filter.