In an effort to prevent potentially disturbing or “overtly mature” material from reaching users under the age of 18, TikTok will begin adding content scores to videos as part of a new feature meant to emulate ratings used in the film, TV and gaming industries.
According to a blog post shared on Wednesday, TikTok will begin rolling out an early version of the feature in coming weeks and place a “post unavailable” message to block out videos that are age restricted. To determine which videos fall into that restricted category, TikTok will assign a “maturity score” based on the videos “thematic maturity” levels.
“When we detect that a video contains mature or complex themes, for example, fictional scenes that may be too frightening or intense for younger audiences, a maturity score will be allocated to the video to help prevent those under 18 from viewing it across the TikTok experience,” Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, wrote in the blog post. “We have focused on further safeguarding the teen experience first and in the coming months we plan to add new functionality to provide detailed content filtering options for our entire community so they can enjoy more of what they love.”
A representative for TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on what the maturity scores would look like or who would be assigning the scores.
Other filtering tools will allow users to filter out hashtags or specific words to avoid seeing those types of videos on their For You feeds.
The feature rollout comes as TikTok has come under scrutiny for displaying adult content and other potentially harmful videos, such as those promoting eating disorders and drug use, to minors. The platform has continued to release additional features meant to protect the wellbeing of its users and has updated its community guidelines to prohibit videos that promote disordered eating and hateful ideology, but TikTok most recently ranked last in GLAAD’s social media safety score card, falling behind rivals like Meta’s Instagram and Facebook and Alphabet’s YouTube.