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TikTok said it is rolling out a new feature aimed at preventing underage users from seeing videos with “mature or complex themes” amid growing scrutiny of the hugely popular video app’s impact on children

The move comes as TikTok faces wrongful death lawsuits in California earlier this month, filed by parents who claim their eight- and nine-year-old children died after trying to recreate “Blackout Challenge” videos, sent to them via TikTok.

To protect underage users from “content with obviously adult themes,” TikTok is introducing a rating metric that the company says is similar to systems used in the film, television, and video game industries.

TikTok will begin rolling out “Maturity Scores” in the coming weeks, the company said in a blog entry.

“If we determine that a video contains mature or complex themes, e.g. B. Fictional scenes that may be too scary or intense for younger audiences, the video will be assigned an age rating to prevent those under the age of 18 from viewing it through the TikTok experience,” said Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust and Safety on TikTok, in a blog post.

TikTok cracks down on “mature” content.
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In addition to the maturity feature, TikTok is rolling out another tool for all users, allowing users to manually block videos with specific words or hashtags in both their “Following” and “For You” feeds.

For example, vegan users can block videos about dairy or meat recipes, Keenan said.

The scrutiny of TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance, goes well beyond the “blackout challenge.”

An example of TikTok's new filter tool.
An example of TikTok’s new filter tool.
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US lawmakers have raised concerns that TikTok is offering videos that glorify eating disorders and self-harm to children suffering from such conditions. They have also questioned whether TikTok shares data with the Chinese government, a practice the company denies.

Additionally, consumer advocates have raised concerns about the proliferation of misleading advertisements for questionable payday loans on TikTok, The Post exclusively reported in June. According to The Post’s reporting, TikTok banned several of the ads.