Tech

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Going Live On TikTok

Everyone loves a livestream.

A woman sits in front of a ring light preparing to go live on TikTok.
Anastasiia Krivenok/Moment/Getty Images

You turn on TikTok, full of ambitions about going Live to share your thoughts on the new Sally Rooney book — but you can’t find the Live button, or tapping it doesn’t do anything. TikTok’s ruining your ambitions for viral stardom! Why the D’Amelios but not you?

Going Live on TikTok has become so popular — thanks, naturally, to quarantine — that audiences on livestreams can be mind-bogglingly big. An Ed Sheeran concert broke the record for the biggest Live audience in June 2021, with 5.5 million views. Going Live on TikTok has become such a key part of the app that on July 27, TikTok added more features designed to keep creators safe while they’re Live. TikTok users can do Lives together, duet-style, and schedule Lives ahead of time as events. You can also do Live Q&As, where audiences can ask questions pop-up style as you do your thing.

That is, of course, if you’re able to go Live at all. If you’re wondering why your meatball recipe tutorials can’t go Live on TikTok while your friend’s dancing sessions to Meghan Thee Stallion are streaming to thousands, here’s how to fix your TikTok Live.

How To Go Live On TikTok

TikTok Lives are designed to be pretty intuitive. You should be able to log into your account, click on the plus sign at the bottom of your screen, enter a title for whatever you’re streaming, and then tap Go Live. At the moment, Lives are restricted to people with over 1,000 followers on TikTok, and you need to be in a region that allows TikTok, like the U.S. or U.K. TikTok is banned in India, China, and Hong Kong, and Lives can’t be made or uploaded in those areas. If you’re going big and want to create and schedule a Live event, select the Live Events icon on your profile page, then name the event, put in a start time, and write a little description.

Going Live is one thing; getting people to tune in (and be respectful while they’re watching!) is another. People getting spicy in the comments about whether dried fruit belongs in meatballs? TikTok now allows Live hosts to add up to 200 terms to a filter, so any comments with those words can be filtered from the Live chat. TikTok will also prompt users to reconsider comments with potentially unkind or offensive content. You can also assign someone to co-host your live with you, who can mute or block users who are detracting from the ~vibe~ of the experience. To do any of this, go into your Settings on the right side of the livestream launch screen and tap what you’d like to do.

Soon, you’ll also be able to remove comments and mute or block anybody who’s not behaving on your Live; TikTok says it’s unveiling those features in coming weeks. If your own Live video has been reviewed or removed because TikTok believes it violates its Community Guidelines, the platform will give you a notification on how you can appeal the decision.

Why Your TikTok Live Might Not Be Working

If you can’t find a Go Live button, you might not qualify for Lives. Technically, per TikTok, anybody can go live provided that they live in the right region and are above the age of 16. But per TikTok’s rules, it’s technically impossible to go Live if your follower count is under 1,000. Alas, cooking your grandma’s signature meatballs for your hundred or so friends seems to be off the table.

There’s a possible way around this issue: Game Revolution reports that you can clickReport A Problem” on TikTok’s menu, then select “I can’t start a Live.” If you file a TikTok support ticket this way, a representative may turn on your ability to go Live without 1k people cheering you on, but it’s not guaranteed. The best way to turn on Live is to attract more followers.

If you’ve got over 1,000 people hungry to hear your opinions but can’t go Live, check TikTok for updates, turn your phone on and off again, and uninstall and re-install the app. None of these fixes working and your meatballs slowly cold? A support ticket with the TikTok staff is the best option to troubleshoot Live when all else fails. You’ll be getting more fans for Gran’s cuisine in no time.