Epilepsy Foundation Applauds TikTok’s Efforts to Address Needs of People with Photosensitive Epilepsy on its Platform

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

LANDOVER, Md.  — TikTok today announced a new accessibility feature on its platform that allows users to skip videos with potential photosensitive content, such as flashing lights or visual patterns. The initial accessibility changes will be rolled out in the coming weeks and are designed to make TikTok friendlier for everyone, especially those who live with photosensitive epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation is one of a number of leading epilepsy organizations around the world working with TikTok to ensure people in the epilepsy community feel protected when viewing content on TikTok. The Epilepsy Foundation is proud to have worked with TikTok to help improve their platform. 

For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. Many people are not aware they are sensitive to flickering lights or to certain kinds of patterns until they have a seizure. While the population of those with photosensitive epilepsy is small, the impact can be quite serious.

Social media can be a great place to connect with friends, family, celebrities, and organizations, as well as stay informed about current events. However, some content on social media platforms, like GIFs and videos, can be potentially harmful to people with reflex epilepsies, photosensitive epilepsy, sunflower syndrome, and migraines. Some GIFs and videos with strobe effects on social media platforms have been known to cause seizures in people living with photosensitivity. 

Some social media platforms and website browsers have a “disable” feature to turn off the video autoplay, which can help limit risk of exposure to potentially seizure and headache-inducing content. However, TikTok’s new feature automatically invites viewers to “skip all” future videos with potential photosensitive content making it easier for people to avoid coming across potential triggering content.

To learn more about photosensitive epilepsy, please visit Epilepsy.com/photosensitivity

About Epilepsy
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.

About the Epilepsy Foundation
With a network of nearly 50 partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy. The Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding $68.7 million for epilepsy research and supporting 3,091 epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. Over the past 18 years, in partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 500,000 school and community personnel in how to recognize seizures and administer seizure first aid. The Foundation has also assisted more than 123,470 people through its 24/7 Helpline in the past five years, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact Name: 
Nathan DeVault
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Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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