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TikTok Users Are Furious After Their Accounts Got Deleted After The Under-13 Purge

The app is purging the accounts of users under 13, but others say they’ve been caught in the crossfire.

Posted on February 28, 2019, at 4:32 p.m. ET

Joel Saget / AFP / Getty Images

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.

@tiktok_us -it's been over a day since your big account delete debacle, which was due to your faulty date selector which auto populated the current date. Hurry up and restore the accounts!

@tiktok_us I’m so mad, i literally cried. all of my memories,and fans, all gone. the birthdate selector wasn’t sliding so i put 2019. my mistake, i know. but i didn’t know they would actually delete my acc😭 seriously. undo the update, i’m 13 and that’s old enough to be on the app.

Wtf @tiktok_us why did you guys delete all my post and everything like you have to be kidding me I want my stuff back.

TikTok has told users that if they entered their birth date wrong, they should submit a copy of their government ID. But due to either privacy concerns or a lack of ID to share, that hasn’t been a satisfactory answer for some.

@tiktok_us Really Tik tok Fix it and answer our emails matter fact delete the update or something it’s not fair to delete people videos without permission to do so I... i had so many people looking up to me doing positive things i literally cried when this happened I’m so upset

Others, despite having followed the instructions, are still locked out.

@tiktok_us I am 27 years old and have been on the app for almost 4 years. I can’t just let my account go that easy. I have done everything you all have suggested including sending my ID and my account is still deleted. It would be great to get some honest feedback here.

Or have yet to receive a response.

@tiktok_us So because of YOUR mistakes, I lost all of my content that I was proud of? Wtf. Oh and I emailed you guys like 5 times. No response. Fix this. Stop dicking around.

Users have also been complaining on TikTok itself.

As well as in reviews on the Apple App Store.

App Store screenshot

Although many people had trouble inputting their birth date, other users BuzzFeed News spoke to said their accounts were deleted before they even had that option, despite being older than 13.

One 17-year-old told BuzzFeed News that he was prompted by the app to confirm his email and birthday and set a new password. After he did, he logged in to find all his videos gone. Another user, 18, said she also logged in to find her videos deleted, and confirming her date of birth made no difference.

In a statement, TikTok told BuzzFeed News it was aware of issues with the app.

“We are aware that some users are experiencing issues accessing the app. Our support teams are working to provide users guidance, and @TikTok_US will provide further information,” said a spokesperson.

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