TikTok wants you to stay away from the app every now and then

TikTok wants its users to find other things to do instead of spending all day creating short-form videos and browsing through the app. In a message to the TikTok community that the company disseminated on Thursday, TikTok announced some steps it is taking to help users develop positive digital habits. Users can already set daily screen time limits and in a few weeks, they will be able to control the amount of time that they spend on TikTok in a single setting by enabling regular screen time breaks.

Then-President Trump threatened to ban TikTok from the U.S. market approximately two years ago

These prompts will remind TikTok users to take a break from the app after a certain amount of uninterrupted screen time has passed. The amount of screen time can be set as long or as short as the user desires. TikTok members aged between 13 and 17 who have used the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day will be reminded the next time they open TikTok that they can use the screen time limit tool.

Carolyn Bunting MBE, CEO of Internet Matters, said, “The research showed that younger users would welcome the introduction of built-in features and settings that prompt them to both think critically about the time that they are spending online, but also encourage them to use settings to actively manage the time they spent on the app. It is important that they feel in control of their online experiences and are helped to make considered choices. We look forward to TikTok developing further features that will put children’s wellbeing at the heart of their design choices.”

The Digital Wellbeing screen time summary shows the amount of time users spent on TikTok during the daytime and during the night. As TikTok recently stated, “We love working with talented creators to educate the TikTok community about online safety, wellbeing, and the tools and options available to them. The energy and enthusiasm these creators have for their community helps them connect with other users and leads to a better understanding of the platform.”
TikTok was the most downloaded app globally during the first quarter of 2022. It also was just the fifth app in history to record lifetime installations of more than 3.5 billion; the other four apps were all developed by Meta (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger).

TikTok was almost banned in the United States

Earlier this year, TikTok made some major changes to its short-form video platform. Looking to take on YouTube, TikTok increased the length of its maximum videos from 60 seconds to 180 seconds (or from one minute to three minutes). It then increased the video length once again from 180 seconds to six hundred seconds (3 minutes to ten minutes). Now, the more than one billion monthly active users on the app have a reason to spend some more time on TikTok.

Remember how close TikTok came to being banned in the U.S.? On August 1st, 2020, then President Donald Trump, in the middle of his trade war with China, announced that “We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things. There’s a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”

Eventually, Trump decided that he wanted TikTok to be owned by a U.S. company and said that for the app to be allowed to be used in the states, it would have to have U.S. ownership. Three U.S. firms appeared to be interested including (quite surprisingly) Oracle and Walmart. Microsoft also had a strong interest in buying the U.S. version of TikTok.

Eventually, the president seemed to get tired and bored with the whole affair and while stories about a possible purchase of TikTok dominated the headlines a couple of Summers ago, eventually the stories just faded from view and after Trump lost the election, the storyline dropped off completely from view. Since then, TikTok has gone from strength to strength.

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