TikTok has been criticized for its low privacy standards, but little is known
about how its adolescent users protect their privacy. Based on interviews with
54 adolescents in Switzerland, this study provides a comprehensive
understanding of young TikTok users’ privacy management practices related to
the creation of videos. The data were explored using the COM-B model, an
established behavioral analysis framework adapted for sociotechnical privacy
research. Our overall findings are in line with previous research on other
social networks: adolescents are aware of privacy related to their online
social connections (social privacy) and perform conscious privacy management.
However, we also identified new patterns related to the central role of
algorithmic recommendations potentially relevant for other social networks.
Adolescents are aware that TikTok’s special algorithm, combined with the app’s
high prevalence among their peers, could easily put them in the spotlight. Some
adolescents also reduce TikTok, which was originally conceived as a social
network, to its extensive audio-visual capabilities and share TikToks via more
private channels (e.g., Snapchat) to manage audiences and avoid identification
by peers. Young users also find other creative ways to protect their privacy
such as identifying stalkers or maintaining multiple user accounts with
different privacy settings to establish granular audience management. Based on
our findings, we propose various concrete measures to develop interventions
that protect the privacy of adolescents on TikTok.

By admin