TikTok users in the US are taking their frustrations online after their accounts were deleted amid sweeping changes to protect children on the app.
On Wednesday, the app, previously known as Musical.ly, took steps to ban users under 13 from posting videos or maintaining a profile. This came after a $5.7 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
In an update, the app asked users to verify their date of birth. If under 13, users lost the ability to post. But there are multiple reports of older users having their accounts wiped in error.
Paige, 15, told BuzzFeed News she lost all 17,000 of her fans yesterday in the purge. Previously known as sleep.com on TikTok, she logged in and was prompted to confirm her date of birth. Due to the way the page was designed, she was unable to change the date from the default current date. Because the app thought she was zero years old, her account was instantly deleted.
“I didn’t think it would be a big deal so I just entered the date it gave me and my account was immediately removed,” she said. “With a warning of some kind this issue would have been avoidable.”
Paige was sent a link to download the 908 videos she had made, but recovering the videos isn’t enough, she said.
“I am more concerned about my platform completely being lost without my knowledge of how to resolve this issue,” she said.
“The account actually brought me a ton of opportunities that are now completely lost just because they probably didn’t go about the situation in a very smart way.”
Dozens of others in the same boat have voiced their complaints on Twitter and other platforms.