TikTok changes virtual gifts policy after BBC probe
TikTok has announced it is changing its virtual gifts policy as a response to a BBC investigation.
In July, the BBC revealed how children and teenagers were being pressured to buy digital items for “celebrities” on the platform.
In some cases, fans bought gifts worth hundreds of pounds – which could be swapped back for cash – in exchange for phone numbers and private messages.
TikTok said it is now limiting the activity to those aged 18 and above.
The move will restrict a revenue stream for the Chinese-owned company, which profited from the transactions. But it should also help it to address parents’ concerns about whether its platform is a safe place for youngsters.
“Our updated policy will only allow those aged 18 and over to purchase, send, or receive virtual gifts,” said TikTok in a statement.
“We are making these changes to foster a safe environment where users of all ages can enjoy a live-stream without encountering misuse, such as any pressure to send virtual gifts.”
About one billion people use the international version of TikTok, which uses a different library of user-generated content to the China-focused version, known as Douyin.
The company said the changes would be rolled out globally over the next three weeks.