As you might know, there are many good things as well as some not-so-good ones happening on TikTok.
Here we’ll talk about how to stay safe on TikTok.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a mobile app that enables users to create and share short videos.
It was originally built as musical.ly, but after it had been acquired by Chinese startup ByteDance in 2016, the app has seen massive growth.
As it had grown in popularity, it has been criticized for its lack of moderation and failure to protect minors.
In July 2018, the app announced a new moderation policy that bans self-harm content (it used to allow videos showing users engaging in risky behaviors like eating glass) as well as nudity, swear words, or graphic content.
The app also announced the introduction of moderators.
However, some users still feel that more needs to be done regarding issues like bullying and cyberbullying on TikTok.
They believe the platform should do more to protect minors from harmful content on its platform.
There Are a Number of Steps You Can Take Yourself to Stay Safe on TikTok
1) Don’t Tag Strangers!
If you don’t know them personally, don’t tag them on your video (of course that goes for photos or any other content).
People might get confused about whether that person was involved with the video or not.
And if they’ll notice the name of someone they know on some weird video, what will they think about their friend?
That’s why you shouldn’t tag strangers on TikTok!
Moreover, even though you know somebody personally, it’s always better to ask them first.
They might not want their parents or friends to see that particular video of theirs.
And if you really want to tag someone, at least make sure they are ok with the content!
2) Don’t Post Videos with Private Information!
It’s a huge NO, especially when you’re under 18 years old and you’re posting any type of videos (private photos included).
Anyone could edit those private videos and spread them around the Internet easily which could result in a lot of trouble and embarrassment.
If you have any private videos that are supposed to be for your eyes only, just don’t post them at all!
Read Also: How to Use Hashtags on TikTok
3) Protect Yourself from Strangers
First of all, you shouldn’t friend anyone you don’t know personally on TikTok.
It’s better to be safe than sorry!
But if you want to keep up with your friends and their new videos, make sure that the people they’re following are only those they have a connection with personally.
If someone is not on your friend list or in your family circle, but you see them popping up in your feed or chat – it might not mean anything bad but just be aware.
You don’t know whether they’re legit people or one of the fake ones
TIP: TikTok allows placing “Restrictions” for users who are under 18 years old.
In this case, they won’t be able to “Add Friends”, “Send Friend Requests”, and many other things.
But they’ll still have the option to block or report fake users which is very important!
4) Blocking and Reporting
In case you see somebody inappropriate on TikTok, don’t ignore it!
Block that person by selecting the three-dot icon on the far right of their name and opt for “block”.
This action will restrict them from being in any of your chats, liking/commenting on your posts, tagging you, etc.
If you feel like someone is making memes out of your videos without your knowledge.
Blocking might be a good idea too, especially if this person doesn’t seem legit.
In case some pictures appear in one of your stories that you never took, don’t hesitate to report them.
For both of these actions go to your profile and then “Manage Chats” or “Report”.
You can also block/report users from their profiles directly or even hide your following.
5) Protect Yourself from Fake Accounts!
As we said before, when you’re under 18 years old there are limitations which means some people might be trying to trick you into becoming friends with them so they could get access to all your videos and photos.
Here is how the process works:
They’ll find a real username on TikTok (we know it seems hard but it’s really possible), send out friend requests, wait for the owner of that account to accept it, and make a deal with him.
Then they’ll get all the videos and pictures from that person since they will be added to their “Friends” list, edit them, and spread them around the Internet.
So if you’re under 18 years old on TikTok make sure you put some type of protection in place so no one could trick you into becoming friends with strangers!
If someone sends a “Friend Request” to you, make sure they are legit before accepting it.
Chances of them being fake are very high so if you have any doubts – don’t accept it and block the person who sent it rather than having them tricking and taking advantage of you later on.
If someone is trying to add YOU as a friend this way – chances that they’ve done this with other users are very high which means their account will be blocked sooner or later by TikTok.
6) Keep Your Number Private!
This one is not an option, but a must.
If strangers somehow get access to your phone number and pin, they could change your password, delete your account, or even worse.
4) Hide Your Profile from the “Explore” section.
This feature will show all the top-rated videos that are trending in a given area to users who don’t follow any specific accounts.
If you’re in this section chances of fake posts appearing on it are high since people have already taken them and edited them for your username/picture (as we said with friends earlier).
So make sure hidden is selected when creating an account.
5) Keep Your Username as Private as Possible.
While not a guarantee by itself, if someone knows your username chances of them finding out about your personal info is higher than if they didn’t know it at all.
Avoid sharing it with anyone and protect yourself from fake accounts as we mentioned earlier.
6) Don’t Send Any Photos/Videos to Strangers Yourself.
If you see someone asking for your pictures, videos, etc., don’t do it!
Not even if they are giving you an “opportunity” of going viral or something else.
This could result in some of the following:
If someone were to ask for your pictures – do not send them!
– They could use it for their own profit or benefit (scammers). You will be known as a naive kid who just wants fame.
7) Use “Advanced Privacy and Security Settings” To Block Any Creeps from Seeing Your Videos/Pictures.
Basically, this will limit the access of your videos and pictures to “Friends” of yours.
It will also hide your username from the comment section of your own posts so scammers won’t be able to send you fake comments asking for access etc.
8) For Older Users: Use 2FA (Two-factor Authentication)!
It’s a great way to protect yourself in case someone tries to hack your TikTok account.
Make sure to activate it on “Security and login”
Turn on “2 step verification” and set a password that you can use if login is unsuccessful.
This means that there will be two entry points when trying to log in – one of them being your account’s username/password, while the other one being a security code that is sent to your phone.
If you’re serious about security this way then ask some of your friends to set up 2FA for their TikTok accounts so you could be notified in case they log in.
But remember that it won’t protect you from scammers who know your username and can impersonate them if they have 2FA activated.
If you’ve noticed any changes regarding your account or there is a paragraph in the policy which would be considered “Not secure” – do not hesitate to contact TikTok and ask them for clarification!
The most important thing here is “Don’t panic” since they are more than happy to help you out as much as they can.
Related: How to Reverse a TikTok Ban
10) Account Recovery Options When Hacked
If you do not have 2FA enabled, and someone manages to hack your account – immediate action is required.
Taking into consideration that TikTok has a “Recover account” option – the first thing you should do is go here and request the account recovery.
If you have 2FA activated, and someone managed to get access to your phone.
Then the first thing you should do is contact TikTok for assistance!
**You will need some evidence that the hack happened on their side/that it wasn’t possible from a user’s end.**
(For example screenshots of the “require security code” notification on your phone, a screenshot of you trying to log in.)
Hope this guide helped you to stay safe on TikTok!
These are some of the most important steps in order to protect yourself when using TikTok.
Now that you know what to look for, fact-check your friends and be careful if there’s a scammer in the neighborhood, you can avoid being scammed. Good luck!
If you have any suggestions regarding the guide or you have any experiences that you would like to share please feel free to comment below.
I will be happy to see your thoughts and maybe even add them!