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TikTok creators will be able to limit shortform videos to adult-only audiences

TikTok creators will be able to limit shortform videos to adult-only audiences


Sexually suggestive content is already limited from appearing in recommendations. Now, the company is expanding audience tools available to creators.

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Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

TikTok creators who make content more suitable for adults will soon get more tools for limiting their audience.

Creators will have the option to restrict under-18 users from viewing shortform videos on the platform if they think the content is only appropriate for older viewers, including things like sexually suggestive content that doesn’t break TikTok’s rules but is “borderline.”

The company announced in October that creators would be getting new age restriction features for livestreams so they could block teens from joining streams with more mature content. The expanded age gating now includes regular TikTok videos, which the company says will roll out globally over the coming weeks.

“To be clear: our policies still fully apply to creators who use this feature, and we will remove content which contains nudity and other violations of our Community Guidelines,” the company wrote in its announcement.

Certain videos are allowed but teeter on the edge of TikTok’s rules, like “implied nudity” and sensual content. Creators can share those videos, but TikTok blocks them from being recommended to users on their For You pages. The company says it stopped over one million overtly sexually suggestive TikToks from reaching teen accounts in the last 30 days.

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm serves up a variety of content to users in rapid succession, often without a common thread — a clip of a kid playing Minecraft might be followed up by a video from a celebrity’s vacation. Giving creators the tools to tweak their reach could address some of the concerns users have about their videos being shown to younger viewers while still allowing borderline or mature content.

Other platforms like Instagram have recently approached limiting sensitive content from the viewer’s side. In June, the company updated its settings so users could tweak what kind of recommendations they want to allow, with the options ranging from stringent to more hands-off. Creator and professional accounts can also set a minimum age for viewing their profile. Like TikTok, the setting doesn’t affect content that is outright banned on Instagram but is another example of how platforms have tried to handle content that brushes against community guidelines.