TikTok improves accessibility with new photosensitivity feature Special

Posted Nov 27, 2020 by Tim Sandle
Popular video sharing app TikTok has introduced a new function to avoid seizures being triggered by those who can be affected by flashing images. This is the 'Skip All option'.
TikTok has admitted that a viral video criticising China's treatment of Muslims was removed
TikTok has admitted that a viral video criticising China's treatment of Muslims was removed
The TikTok app was the first Chinese app to gain massive popularity in the U.S. and its novel approach to producing video content has proved very popular, particularly with young people. One downside with this app, and other apps that can show fast-moving, flashing images, is triggering epilepsy with those who have the neurological disorder.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a type of epilepsy sometimes termed reflex epilepsy. With this, any type of seizure could be triggered but tonic-clonic seizures (or grand-mal seizures) are the most common. Triggers include flashing lights; bold, regular patterns; or regular moving patterns.
A new photosensitivity feature has been announced to make TikTok more safe and inclusive for all people, especially those who live with epilepsy. The feature is a result of conversations we've had with epilepsy advocates and leading epilepsy organizations in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Essentially the user can have all videos that containing flashing images removed from their stream and future videos of this nature blocked from being shown.
The consultation included the Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy Toronto, Epilepsy Society, Epilepsy Ireland, Korea Bureau for Epilepsy and the Japan Epilepsy Association, to spread the word about the new feature and bring awareness to epilepsy in general.
Commenting on the change, Geoff Bobb, Executive Director, Epilepsy Toronto tells Digital Journal: "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. 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."