TikTok offers feature to avoid seizure triggers

By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter

Published
image copyrightGetty Images

TikTok has announced a new feature that will allow people with photosensitive epilepsy to skip videos that could trigger seizures.

It comes a few months after it began labelling videos featuring effects such as flashing lights.

The Skip All option, to be rolled out in the next few weeks, will allow users to set their profile to not show these videos.

An epilepsy charity said it hoped other social-media sites would follow suit.

Users who come across a photosensitive video will receive a notification inviting them to skip all similar videos in future.

TikTok said it wanted to make the platform "accessible for everyone".

"Given the visual nature of our platform, we're beginning this work with a series of photosensitivity features," it added.

Widely condemned

The UK's Epilepsy Society has previously raised concerns with TikTok about harmful content, after being alerted to strobe video filters and seizure-challenge trends.

The challenge encouraged young people to mimic the effects of a seizure on camera, to the song Lucid Dreams, by rapper Juice WRLD, who died following a seizure last year.

The trend was widely condemned by epilepsy charities and described as highly offensive.

Epilepsy Society acting head of external affairs Nicola Swanborough said of the new feature: "It is extremely encouraging to see a platform with such a significant following as TikTok introducing algorithms to detect photosensitive content and protect people with epilepsy."

And she hoped the move would "turn up the heat on other big players in the industry to take the safeguarding of its users with epilepsy seriously".

TikTok has 3.7 million daily active users in the UK.

And the charity estimates about 240,000 of them have photosensitive epilepsy.

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