TikTok is Experimenting with Restricting Live Streams to Viewers Aged 18+

TikTok is Experimenting with Restricting Live Streams to Viewers Aged 18+

TikTok, the video-based social networking platform, rolled out a series of policy updates and plans for new features and technologies to make the platform safer and more secure, particularly for younger users, months after it launched. In addition, TikTok has announced that it is testing a new setting that allows users to limit their live streams to viewers aged 18 and above. According to the company, the unique setting is being tested with a small group of users.

Screenshots of the new setting shared by product intelligence firm Watchful.ai shows that users who have access to the new option can navigate to their settings and toggle the “mature themes” button to restrict their LIVE to adults. The company explained that “only viewers 18 and above can see your LIVE” if you turn it on. Once you turn on the setting, TikTok will notify you that LIVE videos tagged are rated 18+. Meanwhile, TikTok will still remove the content if they violate the app’s community guidelines, including nudity, sexual activity, and violence policies.

This new feature does not imply that TikTok users can now broadcast adult content, as all content is still subject to the app’s policies. Instead, it’s a way for creators to keep minors from seeing content aimed at an adult audience or that may not be of interest to them.


TikTok hinted a few months ago that it wanted to start identifying which content is appropriate for younger and older teens versus adults. Then, the social media platform announced that it was working on a system to identify and restrict certain types of content accessed by teens. It would begin by asking creators to specify when their content is more appropriate for an adult audience.

In a briefing with reporters in February, Tracy Elizabeth, TikTok’s U.S. head of Issue Policy, who also oversees minor safety for the company, explained, “We’ve heard directly from our creators that they sometimes have a desire only to reach a specific older audience. So, as an example, maybe they’re creating a comedy with adult humor or offering boring workplace tips that are relevant only to adults. Or maybe they’re talking about challenging life experiences. So given those varieties of topics, we’re testing ways to help better empower creators to reach the intended audience for their specific content.”

Elizabeth pointed out that TikTok would not go as far as having “displayable” ratings or labels on TikTok videos, allowing people to determine the age-appropriateness of a given piece of content quickly. Instead, TikTok intends to rely on back-end categorization, which will depend on creators tagging their content in some way. The new 18+ restriction setting is an example of this concept in action.

The company also stated that users could select which “comfort zones” or content maturity levels they want to see in the app. In addition, parents and guardians will also be able to make decisions on behalf of their minor children using TikTok’s existing Family Pairing parental control feature.