On the heels of news that TikTok has reached one billion downloads, the corporate these days is launching a new initiative designed to help inform users concerning online safety, TikTok’s various privacy settings and other controls they can use inside its app, and more. Rather than dumping this data in an in-app FAQ or help documentation, the corporate will release a series of video tutorials that are meant to be engaging and fun, in order to better resemble the other content on TikTok itself.
The safety series, called “You’re in control,” will star TikTok users and make use of popular memes, in-app editing tricks and other effects, just like other TikTok videos do. The videos will appear within the app and be available through the new @tiktoktips account.
The videos will target a range of privacy, safety and well-being settings and other safety-related policies. This includes TikTok’s Community guidelines, how in-app reporting works, plus different settings for protecting your privacy, the way to control comments, settings to manage your screen time and more.
They’re not exactly your traditional how-to videos, however.
Instead, the videos showcase what are often more serious issues — like being overrun with unwanted messages — in a humorous fashion. as an example, within the video concerning configuring your message controls, angry commenters are pictured as shouting passengers on an airplane whereas the user is depicted by an overwhelmed flight attendant.
“Too many DMs?” the video asks. The flight attendant snaps his fingers, which causes most of the passengers to disappear. The scene returns to peace and quiet. It’s a simple enough analogy for TikTok’s younger user base to understand.
This is then followed by a screen recording that shows you how to turn off messaging within the TikTok app’s settings.
Other videos have a similar style.
A barking, growling dog is employed to demonstrate Restricted Mode, as an example. A loud crowd high someone’s shoulder is that the intro on the video concerning exploitation comment controls.
Another video encourages the use of screen time controls, asking “can’t put your phone down?” and shows someone so wrapped up in their phone they aren’t watching where they’re walking.
But the video concerning the Community guidelines is probably the most cringe-y, as it feels a bit like your parents reminding you to “play nice.” However, it still manages to set a tone for what TikTok wants to promote — a community for “positive vibes” where everyone feels “safe and comfy.”
At launch, there are seven of these short-form videos in the safety series, which will launch in the TikTok app in the U.S. and U.K on Wednesday. In time, the company plans to add other tutorials and expand the series across its global markets, it says.
Of course, TikTok needs more than a series of videos to make its app a secure and welcoming community, the method it desires. It conjointly needs a combination of policies, settings, controls, technology, moderation and more, the corporate says. And it needs to comply with COPPA laws – which it’s basically skirting.
That said, a focus on user education is a vital aspect to this larger goal — and it stands in stark contrast to how Facebook intentionally made its privacy settings so complex and difficult to find and use for so many of its earlier years that people gave up attempting.
How well TikTok will execute on user privacy and safety as the app grows still remains to be seen. For now, it tends to be talked concerning as either a wholesome and fun video experience or an online cesspool full of hateful content and child predators. It’s an app on the net, thus both versions of this story are likely true.
There is no massive user-generated content site — even those run by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — that has figured out how to properly police the hatefulness and evil contained in humanity. But TikTok, at least, takes care not to showcase that content in its main feed — you have to seek it out directly (or train its algorithm by never clicking on anything wholesome).
But, so far, TikTok has been better reviewed by child safety advocates than you might expect. for instance, common sense Media — a nonprofit that provides unbiased and trusted recommendation concerning all sorts of media, including apps — said that the app, used with parental supervision, can be “a kid-friendly experience.”