Motivated more by the negative image left by the many not-so-underage-friendly live streams, ByteDance is officially introducing “adult content”, with the setting to be ticked on its own initiative by TikTok creators who want to warn their followers.
At the very least, TikTok creators who don’t tick this option will be able to be more easily sanctioned if the platform’s algorithms or user-submitted reports flag abuse. Otherwise, content distributed on TikTok is subject to the same rules as before, banning nudity and pornography, along with any videos that include explicit sex scenes.
Theoretically, this will prevent TikTok from becoming a direct competitor to OnlyFans. In reality, the rules could become even more “relaxed” behind the new “Adults Only” tick, with users who use TikTok for promotion and attracting desirables to platforms like OnlyFans able to act with even more confidence. Last but not least, an “informal niche” of soft-porn content could also emerge right on the edge of the already established posting rules, from which the ByteDance admin would directly benefit by aggressively taxing the “virtual gifts” already implemented on the platform. A precedent already exists in the form of the exploitation of Syrian refugees.
So just because the site says explicit content is not allowed, doesn’t mean it doesn’t appear or can’t be accessed by users under 18.
Part of the initiative is also restricting access to the Live option on TikTok only to users who have a stated age of over 18. Currently, only users with at least 1,000 followers and at least 16 years old can live stream, but as of November 23 the age limit will go up to 18.