TikTok: The Fluttering Sound Is Hand Waving

January 13, 2021

I read “TikTok: All Under-16s’ Accounts Made Private.” The write up explains:

TikTok users aged under 16 will have their accounts automatically set to private, as the app introduces a series of measures to improve child safety. Approved followers only can comment on videos from these accounts. Users will also be prevented from downloading any videos created by under-16s. TikTok said it hoped the changes would encourage young users to “actively engage in their online privacy journey”.

That sounds good. But is it the sound of hand waving in the thick atmosphere of appearing to do something when nothing is really being done?

Questions the Beeb’s write up sparked are:

  • How will TikTok know the verifiable age of a new user?
  • How will TikTok know if an over age user pays an under age user to create an account?
  • How will TikTok verify that “all” accounts are made private?
  • Won’t system administrators and others have access to these data?

Flutter, flutter, flutter.

Stephen E Arnold, January 13, 2021


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