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It is widely know that video content that involves flashing lights and colours (photosensitive content) can trigger seizures.
Because social platforms, like TikTok, are pushing content to users through an algorithm, it can become impossible for users to avoid such content in their feeds. Unless the algorithm itself is trained to filter them out for the right users.
TikTok said it wanted to make the platform “accessible for everyone”.
In the last few months, TikTok has worked with epilepsy professionals who have shared feedback on how to improve the platform.
In the following weeks, the platform will be launching a new feature to protect people from photosensitive content. The new feature will allow viewers who come across a photosensitive video to receive a notification inviting them to “Skip All” future photosensitive videos.
They also warn Creators if their uploads contain effects that could trigger seizures.
TikTok said it wanted to make the platform “accessible for everyone”. It is the first platform to take a step in helping people who have epilepsy avoid potentially dangerous content.
It is extremely encouraging to see a platform with such a significant following as TikTok introducing algorithms to detect photosensitive content
The Epilepsy Society in the UK 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 heavily condemned by epilepsy organisations. It was described as highly offensive.
“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.” said Nicola Swanborough, Epilepsy Society acting head of external affairs.