The Chinese software Douyin, also known as TikTok outside of China, has set time limits on how much time children can spend using it. The owner of Douyin, ByteDance, stated over the weekend on Tencent's qq.com platform that it had put all users under the age of 14 who have verified with their true names into "youth mode."
They can now only use the app for forty minutes a day, and not at all between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6:am, when it's dark outside. Users of the Youth mode are also provided with wholesome, hand-picked content. While Chinese law and current Chinese mores necessitate that the number of time children can spend in Douyin be restricted, ByteDance is not out of the woods yet.
Start by avoiding using the app if you haven't provided your true name when you signed up for it. According to ByteDance's release, parents must finish their children's registrations or manually enable Youth Mode to avoid the time limits.
Another issue is that restricting usage is bad for business: Douyin/content TikTok's recommendation algorithms are well-known for their ability to keep users on the platform for longer, making them a more appealing advertising target. ByteDance's bottom line will be impacted if user time is restricted.
Investors stop caring when the bottom line suffers. According to financial news reports, a high-level conference was held last week at which major Wall Street investors urged senior executives at the People's Bank of China to explain China's policies. They wanted greater clarity on future directions and their influence on the share prices of Chinese computer titans, which have recently been pushed to limit game time and censor content deemed unpatriotic, gruesome, or even featuring effeminate men.
ByteDance's statement does not highlight the wider financial challenges that its new limits generate, but it does promote a bug bounty program under which users are asked to report any problems with the registration for or escape from Youth Mode. In exchange for reporting any faults, you'll receive a "book card" worth about $310, according to machine translation tools. Douyin closes his statement by saying, "Yes, we have grown stricter with teens. At the same time, we will work harder to deliver high-quality content so that teenagers can study and experience the world via Douyin."