Likee: Is This Risky TikTok Clone Safe for Kids to Use?

Kid on a laptop, Likee logo, Wi-Fi shield logo and a padlock
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Is Likee Safe for Kids to Use? - A Quick Guide

Likee is a fast-growing social media platform. Though the video-sharing app is officially 16+, there are no age verifications.

Teens on the app are drawn to the idea of going viral and being financially rewarded in return. However, as a result of Likee’s poor privacy protection, the app might do more harm than good.

Here are some key things to keep in mind about Likee:

  • All profiles are automatically public; there is no way to make them private.
  • Your location is automatically shared.
  • The app has an abundance of graphic, sexualized content that is difficult to avoid.
  • It’s way too easy to get into contact with strangers; this can lead to phishing scams and online abuse.
  • Parental controls don’t work.

In this article, we give parents more information about the app, as well as advice on how to optimize the privacy settings.

Likee is a social media app that’s becoming more and more popular among kids and teenagers. Formerly known as LIKE, this app has been compared to TikTok because it allows users to create and post short videos.

You can add filters, stickers, and music to your content to make it more fun. Harmless, right? Unfortunately, no. Though the official privacy statement states that you must be 16 years or older to create an account, there are no age verification checks.

Even without an account, the app gives you instant access to viral, sexualized content, with no regard for the age of the person downloading the app. Moreover, parental controls in the app are entirely ineffective.

After testing the app for ourselves, we have to conclude that exposure to mature content is unavoidable. In this guide, we go over how Likee works, the risks that come with using the app, and how to optimize your safety settings.


Social Media for Kids

Kids and Social Media iconRecently, there’s been a spike in social media use among younger users. In part, this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, social media companies are also increasingly targeting kids and teenagers, even though excessive time spent on these platforms has been proven to negatively affect children.

Most parents, guardians, and teachers find themselves at a crossroads. They want their children to develop digital skills, make friends, and feel included in online activities.

At the same time, they’re aware of the risks of social media for kids, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Vulnerability to online abuse or grooming
  • Sleep deprivation and concentration problems
  • Changing eating habits
  • Negative self-image

New apps are introduced each year, many of which include a networking component for kids. Even platforms like YouTube or Discord require some form of moderation and oversight.

Is YouTube still safe for kids? What kind of platform is Discord, anyway? Responsible parents try to keep tabs so they know what type of content their kids consume. Now, Likee has come around. It’s not a photo-sharing app like Instagram or a messaging app like Facebook Messenger.

But is it any better than TikTok? Are the privacy settings on Likee adequate? Time to take a closer look.


What is Likee?

Likee is a Singapore-based app initially released in July 2017 under the name LIKE. In 2019, the app was rebranded and designed. Likee allows you to share and watch self-created videos that can be stylized with filters, text, or music, with many calling it a TikTok clone.

The mobile apps are freely available for Android and iOS. In the Google Play Store, Likee has over 500 million downloads.

To serve you content that you like, Likee uses smart recommendation technology. You can also search for different hashtags or filter content by location.

A Nearby feature on the app shows people with a Likee account that are geographically close to you. The company also promises celebrity-generated content and opportunities to make money off your videos if they go viral.

This is but one of the many ways Likee incentivizes users to spend time on the app. Active users can “level up” for things like posting videos, growing their fan base, and opening the app every single day.

Teenagers, in particular, are tempted to buy Diamonds: tokens that can be gifted to and received by other users and exchanged for real currency.


How Does Likee Work?

Like any other social media app, Likee has evolved considerably over the years. We tested it out ourselves to determine how it works and how safe it is for kids.

Creating an account

In the App Store, Likee is categorized as a 12+ app. After downloading it, the first thing we noted, is that you can consume content on Likee without an account.

On opening the app, you are asked to choose from pre-selected categories to indicate content that could be of interest to you.

Screenshot of Likee app, choose your interested content

There is no age verification at this point. As soon as you continue, you access the Likee feed that’s visible to everyone. Instantly, it became clear to us that this app has no issue showing graphic content.

Screenshot of Likee app, Opening screen

This was quite the jump from our indicated interests. Trying not to assume the worst, we looked through the feed. Unfortunately, all the videos were of the same character.

Shockingly, it didn’t take long for Likee to show us content featuring minors: already on the fourth video, we were shown underage girls posing and dancing in front of the camera in a provocative way.

While these girls can’t be held responsible in any way, it goes to show how easy it is for children to upload this type of content, whether it’s because they are convinced to do so, paid to do so, or simply want to. And all of this is visible to us without an account.

That’s the next step. In order to get an account, you can use your phone number, choose to connect Likee to your Facebook, Google, or Apple accounts, or create a new account.

For this last option, you have to choose a username, enter your date of birth, and select your gender. Supposedly, you have to be 16 years or older to get into the uncensored Likee app. If you enter a younger date of birth, you are shown the following message:

Screenshot of Likee app, more appropriate Likee experience window

However, it’s easy enough to enter any date of birth you want. Moreover, as we found out, the “kid-friendly” version of Likee is just as bad as the regular one. Either way, the lack of age verification provides easy access for anyone.

Once you’ve got an account, you are consistently asked to “complete” the process by linking it in one of the following ways, even when you opted out before.

Screenshot of Likee app, Options to link account

There are two important things to keep in mind:

  • Creating an account means you automatically agree to Likee’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. More about this in the next section.
  • By linking your account to any other account, you give Likee access to all the personal information and contacts that go with it.

This begs the question: how does Likee treat your personal data?


Privacy

Having a closer look at the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy, we noticed a couple of things. On paper, the privacy statement clearly indicates that the Likee app is not intended for users under the age of 16. Additionally, you have to be 18+ if you want to use the live streaming services.

Screenshot of Likee app, Privacy policy age

Likee also explicitly states that they comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation for underage user protection. Similar to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the United States, this law obliges companies to obtain parental consent before they can collect data on minors.

However, as with COPPA, the fact that Likee claims to comply doesn’t actually keep children off their platform, which means they end up collecting data anyway — and a lot of it, too.

By creating a Likee account, a user automatically consents to provide the following information:

  • Profile information, including gender, hometown, self-introduction, social media information, education, and career
  • User-generated content, including comments, texts, messages, pictures videos, code, or any other material that you distribute on the app
  • Facial recognition data (such data will only be processed offline and not be used without explicit consent, nor for marketing or advertising)
  • Your social network contacts, once you activate “Discover Friends,” which is enabled by default
  • Your location, once you consent to location sharing, which is enabled by default
  • Information you provide from third-party social media, once linked to your Likee account

Things get even less privacy-sensitive when it comes to the data Likee collects for your “legitimate interests.” This refers to the algorithms used to serve you content that you would like to watch.

The official statement details how everything from your browsing history to your device information may be collected and consequently shared with third-party advertisers and analytics companies.

While poor privacy protection is not uncommon in social media companies, the Likee default settings make things even worse.

Features and default settings

On Likee, users can create short videos, add music, and share them with others. However, every new user’s account is automatically set to public. On top of that, location sharing is automatically enabled.

This means that anyone can see what you decide to post, as well as where you’re located. When there are kids on a platform, this is an instant red flag.

An overview of the default functionalities:

Screenshot of Likee app, Privacy - overview of the default functionalities

As you can see, anyone can message you and comment on your posts, your account is recommended to people, and people are allowed to take screenshots or screen record your content.

While testing out the Likee app, we were shocked to see how graphic all the content was. With settings like these, children on the app are in no way protected from exposure to adult content or contact with strangers.

Besides sexual exploitation, continuous interaction with strangers online can also expose individuals to phishing or malware scams. Many phishing scams are also designed to steal personal information.

Finally, all notifications are enabled by default, including posts from people you follow, new posts from hashtags, comments, message notifications, and more. Throughout the day, Likee also sends you constant reminders to return to the app.


Is Likee Safe for Kids?

Signs of online child abuse iconIn theory, Likee is a fun video-sharing platform that lets you browse videos, upload your own posts, and connect with users on the basis of shared interests.

In reality, it’s a privacy nightmare that puts young users in direct contact with strangers and exposes them to adult content without any sort of protective barrier in place.

In the age of social media, it’s important that children develop their digital literacy skills. This comes with a degree of independence. Teens should be allowed to experience social media at their own pace, in a way that’s age-appropriate and fun.

There’s nothing wrong with children being curious about online content and diverse media. Not everything that’s shared is inherently bad. Having said that, an app like Likee won’t teach your children any safe social media skills.

Likee has risky settings, lacks privacy protection, and hosts an over-abundance of graphic content. On top of that, as we discuss in the next section, any parental control options that the app offers are ineffective.


What are the Dangers of Likee for Kids?

A quick Google search of Likee’s app reviews shows that many other people consider Likee to be an unsafe and risky app. We’ve listed the most prominent dangers below.

Lack of appropriate content

The Likee Community Guidelines state that content that “engages in, promotes, or glorifies sexual seduction or sexual objectification” is prohibited. Additionally, they claim that they are “committed to the safety of minors” and “prohibit the publication of content that puts minors at risk.”

Unfortunately, the For You page tells a different story. There’s suggestive language and sexualized content all over the app. Within minutes of testing it, we’d seen dozens of graphic videos, to the extent that it’s impossible to avoid them.

On top of that, users can search by hashtag and filter by gender. This puts young girls at a heightened risk of grooming and being exposed to inappropriate content.

Easy contact with strangers

When it comes to finding Friends on Likee, you can add them by syncing your contacts from your phone or from other social media accounts. Likee also gives you the option to share a personal QR code or scan someone else’s QR code.

However, since it’s impossible to make your account private, any Likee user will be exposed to people they don’t know in real life. There’s a specific tab in Messages that shows anyone who has seen your page.

Screenshot of Likee app, messages opening screen

This type of environment is perfect for people who are looking to get into contact with young users. All over social media, online predators are flocking to platforms that are popular among kids and teens. Likee makes it exceptionally easy for them to take advantage of the lack of age verification.

For kids, in turn, the need for validation and desire to get popular on social media, won’t make them hesitate twice to add strangers to their contact lists. Since Likee has substandard reporting functions, it creates a risky online world.

Financial rewards

An additional risk for children is the fact that Likee allows in-app purchases and has a giving/receiving feature that allows users can exchange real money. Likee refers to this in-app currency as Diamonds/Beans.

You can buy them up and gift them to other users if you like their videos. The exchange rate is currently $1,00 for 210 beans.

This facilitates pathways for grooming and extortion. Teens on the app may be enticed by the prospect of making some money and not realize the potential consequences of what they post.

Additionally, Likee uses a “level up” system, where the more you share videos, the more followers you have, and the more Diamonds you send and receive, the more recognition you get. Teens are easily tempted by the promise of going viral, which might lead them to post riskier content than they might be comfortable with.

The parental control feature doesn’t work

In an attempt to give this video app a final chance, we enabled Parental Controls.

Likee claims that enabling the parental control feature will filter out inappropriate content and disable private messaging and cash withdrawals. You have to set a passcode and change this every seven days to keep your child from changing the settings.

Screenshot of Likee app, Parental controls disabled

Unfortunately, the parental app made no difference whatsoever. In fact, we got the exact same feed as we did previously.

Screenshot of Likee app, content with parental controls ON

What’s worse is that we could easily change the settings back to normal without ever using the passcode. In other words, this feature is completely useless.


How to Keep Kids Safe on Likee

Infographic showing how to keep kids safe on Likee app

After testing the app for ourselves, it’s become extremely clear that Likee is not an app for kids. We don’t recommend you let your children use it.

However, if you find your children already using it or wanting to create an account, anyway, it’s best to take a few precautions.

Use the app first before letting your children try it

If your child wants to be on Likee, make sure you understand how the app works and what the different features are. You can download the app and try it for yourself. That way, you know exactly what to talk to your children about.

Practice general internet safety

It’s important that your child develops a degree of online independence. However, this is best done by practicing general internet safety. Talk to them about privacy concerns, about data collection, and about what is and isn’t appropriate to post.

Additionally, make sure they understand the risks of talking to people they don’t know. Rather than forbidding them from going on social media completely, explain to them how they can do so in a safer way. Build mutual trust.

Set boundaries and time limits

You can come to an agreement with your child about how and when they are allowed to use the app. For example, they can only use the app for 20 minutes and they have to be in the same room as you.

While the screen time specifics depend on your child and your family dynamic, it’s good to try and find a way of using the app that you can both agree on. This is often more effective than outright banning the app.

Consider a parental control app

While we don’t always recommend parental control apps, due to the way they can make children feel spied on, an app like Likee might require it. It’s best to be open with your child about why you’re using an external parental app to keep an eye on them.

Make agreements about it and make them feel included rather than monitored. If you want some expert advice, you can check out our article on internet safety tips from various researchers.


How to Change Likee’s Privacy Settings

Of course, there are also changes you can make in the Likee app yourself. If you have very young children, you might rather explore child-friendly social media platforms, such as PopJam.

If your teen insists on using Likee, make sure you optimize the safety settings before you let them use the app.

The table shows our recommended safety settings for Likee.

SettingEnabled/Disabled
Hide Location in ProfileEnabled
Don’t Recommend Me to FriendsEnabled
Don’t Recommend My LIVEs to FriendsEnabled
Allow to Set My LINE Status PublicEnabled
Enable Others to Duet With My VideosDisabled
Enable Others to Save My PostsDisabled
Enable Others to Comment on My PostsDisabled
Allow Screenshots or Screen Recording of My Live ContentDisabled

While these recommended settings might seem very limiting, keep in mind that all profiles on Likee are public and that there’s no way to make them private. If you want to limit the chances of exposing your child to strangers with bad intentions, these are the best settings.

How to delete your Likee account

Finally, you should know that deleting your Likee account isn’t a straightforward process either. This is why we’ve included a step-by-step to help you out.

  1. Go to Settings and select Account.
  2. Screenshot of Likee app, Settings overview
  3. Click on Delete account.
  4. Screenshot of Likee app, Account settings
  5. You will now get an overview of the Terms of Account Deletion.
  6. Screenshot of Likee app, Terms of Account Deletion
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Check off “I have read and accept the Likee Account Deletion Agreement.” You will be shown a notification that tells you that your account will delete within seven days.
  9. Screenshot of Likee app, Confirm Deletion
  10. Click Confirm Deletion.

Make sure to check after one week whether this is really the case. If not, you may want to follow up with support.


The Bottom Line: Is Likee Safe for Kids?

Likee has been made out to be a rival of the popular video-sharing platform TikTok. Though TikTok has its own risks, in our experience, Likee is much more dangerous for kids and teenagers.

Here’s our round-up:

  • The privacy settings are sub-par.
  • It’s way too easy for strangers to get in touch with minors.
  • It’s very difficult to get past the amount of sexual content on the app.
  • Likee also drives users towards in-app purchases and to seek out financial rewards.
  • The parental controls are absolutely ineffective.

All in all, we can’t recommend Likee as an app for young users. If you’re looking for more information on kids and social media, have a look around our website or check out the FAQ section below. We are always ready to help you out with any concerns you might have.

Is Likee Safe for Kids: Frequently Asked Questions

Would you like to know more about Likee? Or about kids and social media in general? Check out our FAQ below to find some answers. Leave us a comment below if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Likee is a video-sharing app operated and owned by a tech developer in Singapore. It’s a TikTok clone that’s not entirely safe for kids.

What stands out about Likee is that it’s not possible to have a private account. The default privacy settings make it very easy to get into contact with strangers. Additionally, there is a lot of graphic content on the app.

No, Likee is not kid-friendly. Officially, the app is intended for children over the age of 16. However, since there are no age verifications, it’s possible for anyone to get on the app.

The content on Likee is predominantly sexual and graphic. Even when you activate parental controls, this content is still visible.

Yes, there is a lot of inappropriate content on Likee, involving both adults and minors. The app is not suitable for young users and parents should take precautionary safety measures if they decide to let their kids use the app, after all.

While Likee and TikTok have very similar features, Likee is a less privacy-sensitive app. On Likee, it’s impossible to have a private account and you’re consistently exposed to people you don’t know in real life.

Additionally, the content on Likee is less varied than on TikTok: it really is an app that’s overflowing with graphic, inappropriate content.

Here’s how you delete your Likee account:

  1. Go to Settings and select Account.
  2. Click on Delete account.
  3. Read the Terms of Account Deletion and click Continue.
  4. Check off “I have read and accept the Likee Account Deletion Agreement.”
  5. Click Confirm Deletion.
International Censorship & Security Journalist
Lauren Mak is an internal censorship and security-focused journalist with a keen eye for how technology affects society. With a background in International Relations and North American Studies, Lauren brings a unique perspective to the VPNOverview team. Lauren has a passion for helping others understand the importance of privacy, freedom, and internet safety and brings that passion to VPNOverview.