What happened: Bytedance’s TikTok has released an update limiting account features for users under 13 following a $5.7 million settlement with US authorities for violating a child protection law. The roll out prohibits users under 13 from posting videos, leaving comments, messaging other users or maintaining a profile with a recent update, while some accounts appear to have been accidentally deleted, The Verge reported. The update asked users for their birthdays, and seems to have inadvertently deleted accounts for users who are younger than 13 and or users who accidentally entered birth dates that would make them younger than 13.
Why it’s important: Changes to TikTok brought about by the FTC settlement agreement is likely to have far-reaching consequences. With users under 13 limited to a “younger ecosystem” where they can only watch video content curated specifically for their age group, TikTok could see reduced in-app traffic in the short term. Compounded by the fact that many users have lost their accounts without warning for inputting the wrong birth date, the app could face some backlash in the coming weeks. TikTok has posted solutions on Twitter, though many users complain that they have not been able to resolve the issue.