Stop TikTok Stalkers: How to Keep Creeps Off Your Account – CNET

Your guide to a better future
TikTok can be a dangerous place. Control your privacy settings to protect yourself.
Nelson Aguilar

Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers iPhone, Android, Windows 11 and Mac and writes on privacy and security, cryptocurrency and NFT trends.
TikTok has surged in popularity over recent years. Projections show the number of TikTok users growing to 1.8 billion by the end of 2022. Right now, TikTok only trails Facebook and Instagram in users worldwide, and it’s the second-most popular social media site for American teenagers.
Many people come to TikTok for the global exposure and potential fame, but that level of publicity can come with the potential risks of harassment, ridicule and bullying. Privacy for users on most social media sites can often be an afterthought, but TikTok has received particular criticism for its aggressive data collection and risks of stalking and phishing.
If you’re on TikTok or have kids who use the service, it’s important to know what features and settings TikTok provides to help secure your privacy. Here are 11 settings that can protect you from unwanted followers, harmful comments and violent videos on TikTok.
If you have a public account and you’re over 16 years old, anyone on TikTok can access your profile and watch your videos. (Accounts for people under 16 are automatically set to private.)

For many users, widespread exposure is the attraction of TikTok. It’s a chance for your content to be seen around the world. But you may not want everyone, like bullies or even some family members, to be able to view your TikTok account.
Luckily, it’s easy to find everyone who has looked at your profile.
If you enable the profile views setting on TikTok, other people will be able to see when you check out their profile.
You’ll now be able to see everyone who’s viewed your profile in the last 30 days. If you find someone that you don’t want to have access to your profile and videos, you can then block them.
If you want to stop a certain account from being able to see your profile, you can block them — whether they’re harassing or stalking you, or for any reason you like.
Block someone’s account so they can’t see your profile, send you messages and more.
Not only will a blocked account be unable to view your profile, they also can’t send you messages or even find your profile by searching for it. However, if your video is in a duet or you’re on a livestream with multiple hosts, it’s possible that a blocked account may be able to see those videos.
The easiest way to maintain your privacy on TikTok is to make your account private, meaning only people you actively allow can view your profile and videos. To make your account private:
If your TikTok account is private, only those you accept as friends will be able to see your videos.
After changing to a private account, only users that you approve can follow your account and watch your videos, but existing followers are allowed to continue following you. If that’s a problem, you’ll need to individually block any followers that you don’t want seeing your videos.
By default, anyone who stumbles across your video on TikTok can download it using the site’s built-in video download feature. If you don’t feel comfortable with other people having your videos saved on their devices, you can disable that feature.
There are still other ways to download videos from TikTok, especially with third-party services.
Unfortunately, there are other ways that people can download your videos, such as screen recording, third-party apps and shortcuts, but this setting will prevent one of the most popular (and easiest) ways of downloading videos from TikTok.
Blocking an account may not always be enough. If an account is pretending to be someone else or harassing people in general, you might be able to report the offending actions and have the account restricted or permanently banned. Not only can you report individual accounts, but also specific videos, comments and direct messages. 
To report hateful, violent or other prohibited content on TikTok:
You can report TikTok accounts, videos, comments and other improper behavior.
You can report something for a variety of reasons, including minor safety, disordered eating, self-harm, adult nudity, bullying, harassment, spam, harmful misinformation, illegal activities, violent content and more.
If you want your account to stay low-key and away from too many people’s eyes, you can stop your account from being suggested to other people that might have your contact information on their phone or have mutual friends with you. To stop your account from being recommended by TikTok:
By default, your account is suggested to other people on TikTok.
Your TikTok account is normally suggested to several groups, including your contacts, Facebook friends, people with mutual connections and people who open or send links to you (including links to content on TikTok that are shared outside of TikTok). Disable all of the settings to stop your account from being suggested at all, which will make it harder to find.
Comments on any social media service can quickly turn hostile, and TikTok is no exception. Fortunately there are several features buried in your TikTok settings to help you moderate your comments and eliminate spam and hateful comments.
To find your comment settings, go to Profile > three-dash menu > Settings and privacy > Privacy > Comments. Consider adjusting the following settings:
Don’t like what’s going on in your comment section? Use these settings to manage it.
As long as someone knows your TikTok username, they can tag you in other videos or mention you in comments. If someone is tagging you in videos you don’t want to see or mentioning you in comments as a way of targeted harassment, there is a way to prevent unwanted tagging.
First, you’ll need to find the mentions and tags settings. Go to Profile > three-dash menu > Settings and privacy > Privacy > Mentions and tags, and configure these settings:
You can restrict who mentions and tags you on TikTok
An in-box notification setting can also send you a notification anytime someone you follow likes or comments on videos you’re mentioned in, but that doesn’t really affect your privacy on TikTok.
While most content on TikTok is out there for the world to see, direct messages aren’t so clear and visible. Many people use DMs to harass, bully and spam other people. However, there is a way to help prevent that from happening to you.
Go to Profile > three-dash menu > Settings and privacy > Privacy > Direct messages, and change these settings:
Don’t let just anyone send you a direct message.
On TikTok, you can react to other videos by either inserting yourself into their videos or using their videos in your own. The Duet feature lets you create a reaction split-screen video, combining half of your video with half of someone’s else’s video to create a single reaction video. With the Stitch feature, your video and someone else’s video are integrated into each other — you can edit a portion of their video into yours.
If you’re not a fan of these features or don’t want other users putting your videos into theirs, you can disable them so that no one can Duet or Stitch your video. To do this, go to Profile > three-dash menu > Settings and privacy > Privacy and then:
The Duet and Stitch features are fun, but they can also get out of control.
If your account is set to private, no one but you can create a Duet or Stitch with your videos.
You might post videos on TikTok for everyone to see, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want everyone to be able to see who you’re following or which videos you like. Who you follow and what you like can give others more information than you might want to share, but you can easily set TikTok so that no one but you can see your follower list and liked videos.
To stop others from viewing your following list or liked videos, go go to Profile > three-dash menu > Settings and privacy > Privacy and then:
Just because you follow accounts and like videos doesn’t mean the whole world needs to know it.
 If you select the “only me” option for the following list, other users will still be able to see your mutual friends.
For more about TikTok and privacy, learn how the company is protecting young users from inappropriate videos and why some US regulators are worried about TikTok sharing private user data with China.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *