- Google announced a suite of privacy and safety protections aimed at kids and teens on its platforms, per a blog post. The company will block ad targeting based on the age and gender of interest of people under 18, along with expanding the safeguards that prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens.
- TikTok announced similar privacy and safety protections for teens, per a blog post. Among other moves, the app will limit the time period during which younger teens can receive push notifications, cutting off the feature at 9 p.m. for users who are 13 to 15 years old and at 10 p.m. for users 16 and 17 years old.
- The rollout of additional privacy and safety protections for kids and teens by Google and TikTok comes as tech giants are under increased regulatory scrutiny, and follows similar moves by competitor Facebook.
Google and TikTok announced a host of privacy and safety protections that could affect engagement with their apps among their youngest users, which could cause repercussions for mobile marketers. However, as marketers and tech platforms look to head off regulatory action and ensure brand safety, the changes could be a net positive.
Along with limited ad targeting to users under 18, Google made various changes to how young consumers can use YouTube, Search, Assistant and Play, along with turning off Location History for all users under 18. As part of its efforts to ensure digital wellbeing, YouTube will add "take a break" and bedtime reminders and turn off autoplay for users under 18, limiting some engagement on the video-sharing platform.
TikTok's similar move to limit push notifications at night could also impact engagement on its platform — an effort that goes beyond what Google's YouTube and Facebook's Instagram have done, as TechCrunch notes. Along with the changes to push notifications, TikTok is changing how younger users control who can watch and download their videos, along with further tightening who can use the app's direct messaging features.
"These changes continue to build on our ongoing commitments as there's no finish line when it comes to protecting the safety, privacy, and well-being of our community. We're working with teens, community organizations, parents, and creators to further innovate and we're excited to share more over the coming months," TikTok executives wrote in the blog post.
The safety and privacy changes by Google and TikTok follow similar moves by Facebook, which in July announced plans to stop allowing advertisers to target users under 18 based on their interests or activity on other sites. The CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared before Congress in March and faced questions about children's screen time, among other issues. Meanwhile, TikTok owner ByteDance is working to address concerns of Chinese regulators amid a wider tech crackdown in the country.