TikTok is introducing an adult-only content option
Zoomers are growing, TikTok is not for teenagers only anymore, or at least tries not to be. The platform aims to graduate along with its primary user base. And in one step towards maturity, TikTok is introducing an adult-only option for live streamers on the platform who want to limit their viewership to those over 18.
As for when and why streamers might choose to set an age limit, TikTok offered a few theoretical examples. “Perhaps the comedy routine is better suited to people over 18.” Or, the host may be planning to discuss a difficult life experience and would feel more comfortable knowing that the conversation is limited to adults,” the company wrote on Monday Media Release.
These justifications may sound naively chaste, but the move to age-restrict some content on the platform is unlikely to make TikTok the next Fans Only. The platform has a strict ban on most content that would traditionally be considered “adult”. “We do not allow nudity, pornography or sexually explicit content,” the company says community guidelines.
And nothing in the new announcement suggests those guidelines will be any different for adult-only streams. Gizmodo reached out to TikTok for further clarification on this, but did not immediately hear back. It’s worth noting, though: just because a site says explicit content isn’t allowed, doesn’t mean it doesn’t appear. TikTok has struggled with his moderation in the past and videos that should, in theory, be banned based on community guidelines often slip through the cracks.
The company announced its upcoming adult-only streams along with a number of other changes to the livestream feature. For example, users will now be able to include up to five guests in a multi-guest stream. In addition, the app says it’s updating its keyword filtering feature to send reminders and suggestions to creators who want to moderate their own commenters and live interactions.
Notably, the company also announced another age-related change in live streaming. Soon only adult users will be able to stream. Currently, TikTokers with a minimum of 1,000 followers over the age of 16 can go live, but on November 23rd that age limit will increase to 18.
TikTok didn’t fully explain the change on its company blog, simply describing the change as an expansion of its already existing in-app age restrictions (such as an 18+ monetization limit and a 16+ direct message limit). Again, the company did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s questions on the subject.
Both the adult-only streaming option and the updated age limit on who can stream are noted in the header, “our ongoing work to keep our safe in the community.”
Live streaming stations the greater part TikTok’s business model and interface. In 2021, live streaming revenue accounted for about 15% of TikTok’s total revenue, but it grew almost twice as fast as the company’s online advertising business over the past two years.
Streaming is one of the best ways for users of the platform to make money, as TikTok does not share ad revenue with creators. However, the company has recently faced backlash over the heavy slice of the pie it takes from so-called “gifts” and “tips” given to streamers on the platform. In one particularly shocking case, a BBC investigation revealed that TikTok and the “intermediaries” were allegedly scams pocket up to 70% of donations collected by refugees begging on the platform.
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