The Problem

With more than 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is a social media video app for creating and sharing short videos and the app is well known for being popular with minors.

Alleged Predator on TikTok Talking to a Young Girl Through the App

However, due to lack of moderation and insufficient safety controls, TikTok has facilitated a space for sexual grooming by abusers or potentially sex traffickers. These exploiters utilize TikTok to view minor users and either comment and/or message these minors, often requesting sexually explicit videos or pictures. An advocacy group accurately called TikTok a “hunting ground” for predators to abuse children and Forbes identified TikTok as a “magnet to sexual predators.”

For these reasons, TikTok is being named to the 2020 Dirty Dozen List.

TikTok can make significant, effective steps to combat these issues by:

1. Automatically defaulting to private when users first set up their TikTok account,

2. Automatically default on the Digital Wellbeing’s Restricted Mode and maintain the Digital Wellbeing’s Restricted Mode without the need to reset it every 30 days,

3. Provide prominent in-app reporting systems for users to report other users that request, send, or promote sexually explicit content,

4. Enforce this policy by promptly removing accounts that engage in these actions, and

5. Raise the age rating in the app store so that families understand the risks involved with the app.

#TikTok is on the 2020 Dirty Dozen List for facilitating a space for sexual grooming by abusers or sex traffickers and for insufficient safety controls. #TikTokTimesUp @tiktok_us @tiktok_uk @tiktok_France @TikTok_it @TikTokArab Click To Tweet


Take Action

Review Safety Tips for Your Kids

While TikTok has insufficient safety controls, there are initial steps you can take to protect your children, including setting accounts on private, limit comments, and more. You can learn more about these options on Common Sense Media.

Email TikTok Executives

Tweet at TikTok Executives

Tell TikTok to fix their policies and practices to make their app safe – send a tweet to their company and executives!


STATEMENT – TikTok Must Better Protect Kids from Online Predators

White House Press Secretary Says Administration “Would Take a Close Look” at Requiring Rules for Safety on TikTok Washington, DC (August 5, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is urging that any action enabling TikTok to continue operating in the U.S. must require additional safeguards to protect children from online predators. Yesterday,…

Join with NCOSE to Increase Internet Safety in 2020

*This blog is the second in a series for Internet Safety Month 2020. The first part covers current actions NCOSE supports in order to fight for internet safety. This second part covers progress that still needs to be made on this front.* As designated by the U.S Senate, June is National Internet Safety Month in…

Internet Safety

VICTORY! TikTok Updated Its Safety Features. Here’s How They Work.

Just a few weeks after our public announcement about TikTok being named to the 2020 Dirty Dozen List, the social media company announced that they would soon begin rolling out improvements to TikTok’s safety features—including some updates we had been advocating for them to make! Although there are still several safety improvements they need to…

How the new safety features for TikTok actually work

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…

Dirty Dozen graphic for TikTok (National Center on Sexual Exploitation)

As TikTok Fails to Remove Exploiters from the App, Users Are Starting to Revolt

TikTok’s users have increasingly taken it upon themselves to “out” sexual exploiters using the popular video social media app because TikTok has fallen short of ridding the platform from those who prey upon young minors. As Buzzfeed reports: “One of the most popular kinds of videos from TikTok’s users, who are mostly young and female, are…