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

Everyone loves a livestream.

by JR Thorpe and Emma Carey
Originally Published: 
A woman sits in front of a ring light preparing to go live on TikTok. Why can't I go live on TikTok?...
Anastasiia Krivenok/Moment/Getty Images

One of the beautiful (and sometimes frightening) parts of social media is that anyone can have an audience. And that’s especially true for TikTok — an app with over 1 billion active users and an algorithm that, when used correctly, seems to launch users to virality at the tap of a button. Whether you’ve already blown up, or are working to grow a niche following, you might be wishing you could connect in real time with your viewers. And there’s nothing like live performance, right?

Maybe you’ve already tried to go Live on TikTok, full of ambitions and ready to share your thoughts on the latest Euphoria episode — 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 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 TikTok has continually 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. 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 Cassie stole Nate from Maddie? 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 (though they must also have over 1,000 followers), who can act as a moderator by muting or blocking users who are harshing the vibe.

To add comment filters or a co-host, go into your Settings on the right side of the livestream launch screen and turn on these settings.

You’re also be able to remove comments and mute or block anybody who’s not behaving on your Live. In October 2021, TikTok began allowing livestream hosts to mute viewers for a few seconds, minutes, or the entirety of a livestream. When a viewer is muted, their entire comment history will also be removed from the livestream.

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, Lives are restricted to people with over 1,000 followers, 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. 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, are based in a region that supports TikTok, but still can’t go Live, check TikTok for updates, turn your phone on and off again, and uninstall and re-install the app. If none of these tactics work, a support ticket with the TikTok staff is the best option to troubleshoot Live when all else fails.

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