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TikTok banning under 16s from using direct messaging

TikTok is banning children under the age of 16 from using its direct message service.

The hugely popular video sharing app will introduce new online safety measures from April 30 to stop certain users from using the Direct Messaging feature to contact other users.

The company's head of safety Cormac Keenan said: "As part of our commitment to improve safety on TikTok, we are introducing new restrictions on who can use our Direct Messaging feature.

"Direct Messaging is an amazing tool that enables people to make new friends and connections no matter where they are in the world. But despite its potential for good, we understand the potential for misuse."

The app has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times since its launch in 2016, and it was one of the most-downloaded in the world last year while proving popular with younger demographics.

Its latest safety measure has been welcomed by the NSPCC, and organisation's head of online child safety would like to see other social media companies take the same steps.

NSPCC's Andy Burrows added: "This is a bold move by TikTok as we know that groomers use direct messaging to cast the net widely and contact large numbers of children.

"Offenders are taking advantage of the current climate to target children spending more time online, but this shows proactive steps can be taken to make sites safer and frustrate groomers from being able to exploit unsafe design choices."

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