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TikTok's livestreaming updates include adult-only broadcasts

You also have to be at least 18 to host any stream.
The TikTok app is seen for download in the App Store on an iPhone in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on 05 October, 2022. The social app TikTok has reported a 1 billion dollar turnover last year in international markets, a 477 percent increase over the previous year's results. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|October 17, 2022 1:18 PM

TikTok is once again updating its livestreaming features, and this time the biggest improvements affect the people who can't watch. For starters, the upgrade now lets TikTok Live users host adult-only broadcasts. If a stream is likely to include lots of colorful language or tackle traumatic subjects, you can make sure the audience is mature enough to handle it. The option will be available in the "coming weeks." And no, it's not an officially sanctioned alternative to OnlyFans — TikTok's policies still forbid sexually explicit content.

The social video service is also raising the minimum age for hosts from 16 to 18 starting November 23rd. TikTok pitches this as a logical extension of its restrictions on teen content, but it also comes after incidents of abuse. Older viewers have sexually exploited teen hosts, for example, while teens have made threats against schools. In theory, the higher minimum age will reduce the number of school-age kids using Live to get into the kinds of trouble that wouldn't be possible using pre-recorded clips. Accordingly, a feature arriving in the weeks ahead will remind creators to block keywords they've filtered out in the past.

There is one upgrade that brings more people into the fold. A recently expanded Multi-Guest feature now lets a host invite up to five other participants using either a grid or panel layout. This can be helpful for pro creators who want to air full-fledged shows, of course, but it could also be helpful for any streamer who wants to bring more friends into a conversation.

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TikTok is facing government pressure to implement audience controls like this. American and British officials are worried the social network might harm children, whether through promoting unhealthy behavior or jeopardizing privacy. Age restrictions won't necessarily prevent abuses of live broadcasts, but they could indicate that TikTok is addressing key concerns.

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TikTok's livestreaming updates include adult-only broadcasts