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For those with photosensitive epilepsy, where flashing images can cause seizures, TikTok can be a triggering landscape. But after lobbying from epilepsy groups, TikTok has announced a new measure to make it easier for people to avoid these types of images and videos.
TikTok had already introduced a new feature a few months ago that told creators when they were creating content that was potentially triggering for the photosensitive. Now, the social media platform is introducing an accessibility feature that allows people to skip all photosensitive videos on their TikTok feeds.
The feature kicks in when you come across a photosensitive video. The video will not play immediately; instead, a warning will appear, and you can opt to watch the video or skip it and all future photosensitive content. You can change your settings at any time by going to Settings and navigating to Accessibility. TikTok will roll out the feature in the coming weeks.
The Epilepsy Foundation estimates that one in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, and one in 10 people will have a seizure. TikTok has been working with the Epilepsy Foundation and other leading organizations in the US and around the globe.
“What some people may not recognize is that for someone living with photosensitive epilepsy, the internet is a particularly difficult and dangerous space to navigate,” said Geoff Bobb, executive director of Epilepsy Toronto. “There is no way to know when you might come across content that contains flashing images or lights that will trigger your seizure, and that’s scary. We are thrilled to hear that TikTok is taking this important step to help make their platform a safer, and more inclusive space for those living with epilepsy.”
This push towards inclusivity comes just as TikTok received criticism for the “Seizure Challenge” that swept through the platform over the summer. Engadget reports that TikTok users imitated individuals having a seizure to background music by JuiceWrld, who died in December 2019 from a seizure at age 21.
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