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article imageNew Twitter advert dangerous to those with epilepsy

By Tim Sandle     Jul 11, 2015 in Internet
A new advert by the micro-blogging site Twitter as angered a leading epilepsy charity. Two adverts on Vine that feature a rapid succession of flashing colors.
The charity is Epilepsy Action and its deputy chief executive, Simon Wigglesworth, has told BBC News that "Twitter's ads were dangerous to people living with photo-sensitive epilepsy." The two adverts were promoted on Vine, a short-form video sharing service where users can share six-second-long looping video clips. Twitter responded by removing the adverts; they had been online for 18 hours.
The reason for the charity's concern is due to the number of people with photosensitive epilepsy (Time Magazine notes there are 65 million people diagnosed worldwide). Many movies and television programs that contain flashing images or a pulsating array of colors issue warning before transmission. However, such warnings are not easily put in place across social media and, with a service like Vine, where the objective is to get something across in only six seconds, it would take longer to display a warning message than it would to play the video.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a type of epilepsy where seizures are triggered through visual stimuli in the form of patterns in time or space. The visual trigger for a seizure is often cyclic. Triggers include ceiling fans, movie action, interactive whiteboards, flashing tree lights, bicycle lights, sun beds, strobe lights, and wind turbines.
In placing the advert, it seems that Twitter was in breach of U.K. advertising standards. The Advertising Standards Authority was quoted in the same BBC piece that any "marketing communication", mist not contain "visual effects that could potentially affect any person with photosensitive epilepsy."
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