STATEMENT – NCOSE Applauds TikTok for Adding Safety Features
Washington, DC (February 20, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds TikTok for addressing its concerns about the lack of safety features, which TikTok announced would be added and first be rolled out in the UK and then the U.S.
TikTok has been a target of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for the past year and was named to the 2020 Dirty Dozen List due to lack of moderation and insufficient safety controls, and because it facilitated a space for sexual grooming by abusers or potentially sex traffickers.
“These improvements were vital because TikTok has historically employed some of the weakest safety features in the social media ecosystem, which has caused it to become a breeding ground for sexual abuse and sextortion,” said Haley McNamara, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “For example, TikTok’s Restricted Mode had to be re-set every 30 days, thus putting undue burden on children to re-protect themselves over and over again from seeing sexually exploitive or other inappropriate content. That is why TikTok was contacted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and placed on the 2020 Dirty Dozen List for facilitating sexual abuse.”
“We applaud TikTok for their new release of Family Safety Mode, which addresses many of the concerns our organization has brought to their attention. This Family Safety Mode will allow parents to set up Restricted Mode and to set limits on strangers direct messaging their children, a feature that has often been used by predators to groom children for sexual abuse or trafficking. While more improvements are necessary, we are glad that TikTok is beginning to address the issues we have raised in a tangible way.”