TikTok will raise the minimum age for live streaming from 16 to 18 starting next month.
The move comes after a BBC News investigation found hundreds of accounts streaming live from refugee camps in Syria. In the broadcasts, children beg for monetary donations.
Some earned up to US$1,000 (about R$5,200) an hour. But when people got their money back, 70% of TikTok’s value remained.
In the future, only adults will be able to “send virtual gifts or access monetization features,” TikTok said.
In the coming weeks, the company says the platform will allow users to stream adult-only live streams.
However, it is not clear how TikTok will implement these age restrictions.
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, and Google, which owns YouTube, both have a minimum live streaming age of 13 and already allow users to control content.
For five months, the BBC’s Global Disinformation Unit, BBC Arabic and BBC Eye Investigations have been streaming 300 TikTok accounts live from north-west Syria.
TikTok’s rules state that users must not directly solicit donations and must “avoid harm, threats or exploitation” of minors on the platform.
When BBC News reported accounts with 30 children begging for money using the in-app system, TikTok said it had not breached its policies in any case.
After BBC News approached TikTok’s management for comment, the company banned all accounts.
TikTok has said that this type of content is not allowed on its site and that its “digital gifts” commission is significantly less than 70%, but it has yet to confirm the exact figure.
TikTok is the fastest growing social media app in the world and has been downloaded over 3.9 billion times.
According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the company has spent more than $6.2 billion in total revenue on the app since its launch in 2017.
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