TikTok is updating its livestream system to limit kids from going live and to allow streamers to only reach adults.
In a blog post, TikTok announced a slew of changes to its livestream feature, including new age gating methods and creator tools. Currently, anyone with at least 1,000 followers who’s over the age of 16 can start a livestream on TikTok, and people over 18 can send and receive tips — one of the ways creators make money on the platform. Beginning November 23rd, only users 18 and up will be able to host a livestream.
“To protect our users and creators and support their well-being, we constantly work to evolve the safeguards we put in place,” TikTok says in the blog post.
In addition to higher age minimums, people hosting livestreams will soon be able to target adults only for streams that are more appropriate for an older audience. Currently, livestreams are sprinkled in to a user’s For You page and on a separate Live feed that users can swipe through. TikTok says adult-only streams could be used for things like certain comedy routines or when creators want to discuss life experiences that they’d rather not have kids watch.
People have also figured out how to game the livestream tipping system
TikTok Live is increasingly becoming a core part of how creators use the platform and a revenue stream for the company. Last month, Rest of World reported ByteDance, which owns TikTok, was partnering with influencer agencies who train creators to host livestreams and prompt viewers to tip them. Revenue from virtual gifts is split between the creator, TikTok, and the agency in the middle, according to Rest of World.
As livestreams have gained more popularity, people have also figured out how to game the tipping system. Livestreams have also been the site of scams and disinformation, like when streamers profited off of fake footage from Ukraine when Russia invaded the country. And last week, a BBC investigation revealed how Syrian families in refugee camps were going live to beg viewers for tips, facilitated by intermediaries who gave families equipment to host streams. In those instances, too, TikTok profited, despite the company saying the content wasn’t allowed. TikTok told the BBC it would take action against “exploitative begging.”
In addition to the new safety updates, TikTok announced new tools for creators hosting livestreams on the platform. First, creators can now go live with up to five guests using different layout options. TikTok also says it’s updating its keyword filtering feature for livestreams to send hosts a reminder to add blocked keywords and suggest other words they might want to filter.