Hugely popular microvlogging app TikTok has announced it is banning direct messaging for users under 16 globally at the end of April in a bid to prevent abuse, according to the BBC.
The move will mean that account holders under the age of 16 will no longer be able to message other users under any circumstances, and marks the first time a major social media platform has made such a move at this scale.
According to TikTok, those affected will receive an in-app notification soon and will lose access to direct messages on April 30. The limit is based on the date of birth users provide when creating an account on the app. However, this information is not verified and is likely to become a loophole children may exploit in order to circumvent the new measures.
Banning direct messaging for under-16s marks a significant move as teenagers make up the vast majority of TikTok's users, but likely comes as a measure to protect a subset of users in the wake of suspicious or concerning activity which TikTok may have noticed on the platform.