TikTok Is Verifying User Ages to Ensure They Only See Age-Appropriate Content

TikTok is asking many users for their birthdays for the first time, leading some to wonder what the company wants to do with the information.


Jul. 12 2022, Published 10:34 a.m. ET

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Pop up notifications on platforms like TikTok are often unwelcome, and that's especially true when the pop up is asking users to do something. Recently, many TikTok users have noticed that the app is asking users for their birthday, which has made them wonder why the social media platform is looking for the information.

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Why is TikTok asking for my birthday?

TikTok has been making a wide array of changes in order to ensure that the content users see on the platform is age appropriate. This has come after TikTok faced blowback after fairly young users came across dangerous trends on the platform that they may not know not to try. To keep this from happening moving forward, TikTok is asking all users to verify their age so that they only see content that TikTok believes is appropriate.

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In January of last year, TikTok announced that it would be instituting a new set of rules for users who were under 16, and all accounts registered to users 16 and younger would automatically be made private.

Now, they've gone a step further, creating different settings that are likely designed to keep users from seeing content that relates to dangerous trends.

Some users are not happy about the change.

Although TikTok may have the right intentions in making these changes, some users have complained about the new restrictions on what younger users will be able to see.

“TikTok just asked for my birthday to give me age-appropriate content but my algorithm been so good," one person wrote on Twitter.

Others have echoed those comments, suggesting that they don't want to mess up their algorithm by adding their age.

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TikTok can verify your age through other means.

It might be tempting for some users to simply lie about their age, and while that's certainly an option, it's one that TikTok likely has some means of working around. Like Instagram, which also recently prompted users for their age, TikTok can look through your identity and match you to a public record, and divine your age that way. You may be able to get away with it, but you should know that TikTok is not just relying on its users to be honest about their own ages.

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Users under 13 are already restricted from posting content.

If you join TikTok and are under 13, the app will not allow you to post. There are also additional safety and privacy features available for users on the app in that age range. If the app discovers that a user under the age of 13 has been posting content, that user will be banned from TikTok immediately.

TikTok is working hard to remain a place that is not harmful to kids, but is also a place they want to spend their time on when they're old enough. Like all social media platforms, that can be a difficult balance to strike, but the platform is clearly hoping that these age restrictions will help. You may not want to screw up your algorithm, but TikTok believes it will ultimately serve the greater good.

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