If Microsoft, Apple or Twitter before President Donald Trump’s against the Chinese-owned short-video app kicks in next month, it’ll apparently come with a youthful audience. Up to a third of TikTok’s 49 million daily users in the US are 14 years old or younger, according to The New York Times, which cited internal TikTok data and documents it reviewed.
That data apparently said 18 million of the app’s daily users in July were 14 or younger, 20 million were older, and the ages of the rest couldn’t be classified. In addition to using people’s self-reported ages, TikTok estimates ages by applying facial recognition algorithms to videos and profile pictures and by analyzing social connections to users whose ages are already known, the Times reported.
Even though the minimum age for using the app is 13, a former TikTok worker reportedly noted that videos from children younger than that have stayed on the app for weeks.
“We’re proud to provide a fun place for families to create content and spend time together, particularly during the pandemic,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNET in an emailed response to a request for comment on the Times report. The spokesperson said TikTok doesn’t disclose user demographics. “We’re committed to protecting the privacy and safety of the people and families who come to TikTok for entertainment, self-expression, and connection.”