October 18, 2022 – TikTok has announced a series of changes to its livestream feature, raising the minimum age requirement to go live on the platform from 16 to 18 years, according to a blog post by the company.
TikTok has stepped up the age restriction to prevent children from being exposed to livestreams that are aimed towards older audiences. Previously, any user aged 16 or above and with at least 1,000 subscribers could host a livestream on the platform. The adult-only streams, however, will now require streamers to be at least 18 years old.
TikTok will also enable creators to target adults for streams younger audiences might not be interested in, or which creators do not want to be watched by children.
“We plan to introduce a new way for creators to choose if they’d prefer to only reach an adult audience in their LIVE,” says TikTok. “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.”
Starting November 23, users under the age of 18 will not be allowed to host livestreams on the video-sharing platform. According to TikTok, the age limit has been increased “to protect users and creators and support their well-being”.
Livestreaming allows creators to receive tips from viewers aged 18 or above and has become an integral feature of TikTok, boosting lucrative avenues for the marketing industry. At the same time, however, live-streaming has enabled scams, which lead to widespread disinformation across the platform. A recent BBC investigation has also raised a number of questions around profit-sharing from livestreams. The investigation found TikTok to be profiting off Syrian families pleading for tips live in refugee camps, possibly pocketing a significant percentage of the proceeds.
In response to the report, TikTok told BBC that the company would take swift action against “exploitative begging” as such content is not allowed on the platform.