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15 December 2020

TikTok, the popular social media short video platform, has expanded its ability to warn developers against posting content that could induce epileptic seizures, and support users in automatically skipping over such videos.

The company started the process of warning content creators a few months ago should a video contain effects, like flashing lights or certain visual patterns, that can be harmful to people with photosensitive epilepsy. At the point of upload, a warning screen has been added. Recently this feature has been expanded to support users with the ability to skip over these videos identified as representing a seizure risk.

For users, videos that represent a seizure risk can now be removed. When a video that represents a risk appears, users have the choice to proceed, or ‘skip all’ for any future videos with the same warning.

TikTok consulted with several organisations including the US-based Epilepsy Foundation, to develop the new feature. CFA Australia welcomes this feature as a further step in the consideration of the needs of people with disability using the platform. However, additional steps to support users from a variety of different disability groups is still needed as there is currently no supported way to add captions to videos, although workarounds are possible.

The Centre For Accessibility Australia is a joint project by Media on Mars, DADAA and Dr Scott Hollier and is funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services.

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