Briefing: TikTok, live-streaming apps a portal for child abusers, says child advocates

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TikTok, livestreaming apps are ‘hunting ground’ for abusers, warn kids’ advocates – CNET

What happened: Chinese short-video app TikTok faces a fresh round of scrutiny, this time in the UK, after a children’s charity spokesperson said that abusers are exploiting the app as a “hunting ground” to contact youngsters. A survey of 40,000 schoolchildren conducted by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, known as NSPCC, found that 25% of them had livestreamed with a stranger, while one in 20 children were asked to strip while livestreaming or commenting. TikTok requires users to be at least 13 years old, but has no verification system in place.

Why it’s important: This is not the first time the massively popular app, part of the Bytedance portfolio, has been under fire due to lack of oversight. Last week, Indian lawmakers sought to ban the app across the country for spreading harmful and vulgar content, and Indonesian authorities banned it temporarily for similar reasons in July. In response, TikTok has introduced and enhanced a series of protective measures, including filters, in-app reporting and content review; however, constant complaints indicate that firm must do more to tackle the issue.