TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew provided some insight into how the company vets potentially underage users on its platform at today’s House session, amid questions regarding TikTok’s usage of biometrics.
After denying that the app collects body, face, or voice data to identify its users — beyond what is required for the program’s in-app AR filters to work — the executive was questioned how TikTok calculates the age of its users.
Chew’s immediate response was predictable: the app uses age gating. This is the most common approach, which simply asks a person for their birthdate in hopes of determining their age. TikTok offers three different experiences: for users under the age of 13, younger teens, and adults 18 and up — which experience the user receives is determined by their age input.
Of course, relying only on this method is problematic because children frequently lie about their age when joining up for social media apps and websites.
TikTok, it turns out, is more than simply looking at the age typed into a text box.
Chew stated throughout the hearing that TikTok examines users’ videos to determine their age.
“We’ve also developed some tools where we look at their public profile, to go through the videos that they post to see whether…” Chew began, before being interrupted by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), who interjected, “That’s creepy. Tell me more about that.”
When Chew was finally ready to continue, he stated, “It’s public.” So, if you post a video, you select to make it public – this is how others will see your video. “We look at those to see if it fits the age you specified,” he explained.
“This is now a real challenge for our industry because privacy versus age assurance is a huge problem,” Chew explained.
The provided information is intended for general awareness and may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date. The post disclaims any warranties regarding the completeness, accuracy, or reliability of the content, services, or graphics on the website. It advises caution when using the information for any purpose.