A feature coming soon to TikTok will allow users to opt out of videos on the platform that contain flashing images capable of triggering seizures. This is a groundbreaking development in the protection of people with photosensitive epilepsy, accommodating those with seizure vulnerability without affecting the viewing experience of others. According to the social media company, the new feature will become available in the coming weeks.
With input from a number of epilepsy experts and advocacy organizations around the world, TikTok began earlier this year to address the danger faced by those with photosensitive epilepsy from flashing images. As a first step, the company introduced a
photosensitive epilepsy warning to people posting videos that can trigger seizures. The warning helps prevent posters from unintentionally exposing others to seizure-provoking images, but it does not actually protect people with light sensitivity, who have at times been deliberately targeted with seizure-provoking images.
The new feature allows people with light sensitivities to easily avoid viewing any flashing content that could put them at risk for seizures. TikTok will display a message prior to playing potentially dangerous content, indicating that the video contains images that could trigger seizures. If the viewer chooses to skip that video, the platform offers the option to block all videos with such content.
Accommodating users with photosensitive epilepsy is one of several major efforts outlined recently by TikTok to make its content appropriate for all audiences. The company
is also stepping up its efforts to make the platform free of hate speech and content inappropriate for children. Let’s hope the other social media platforms follow suit.