TikTok hides graphic videos amid new well-being tools

TikTok announced Tuesday new resources in its app to support well-being for people who are struggling. Photo courtesy of TikTok

Dec. 15 (UPI) — TikTok launched Tuesday an opt-in screen for graphic videos amid a rollout of well-being resources.

Cormac Keenan, head of trust and safety, announced the policy change in a blog post about updating policies under the video-sharing app’s community guidelines. In particular, Keenan mentioned the opt-in screen as part of the app’s “new resources to support well-being,” to be rolled out in coming weeks.

New resources include screens listing evidence-based actions, tips and support for people who search for terms like “selfharm” or “hatemyself,” along with contacts for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Kids Helpline based on guidance from behavioral psychologists and suicide prevention experts.

“We’re also introducing opt-in viewing screens on top of videos that some may find graphic or distressing,” Keenan wrote in the blog post. “These types of videos are already ineligible for recommendation to anyone’s For You feed, and this feature aims to further reduce unexpected viewing of such content by offering viewers the choice to skip the video or watch it.”

TikTok already removes content that violates its community guidelines against posts that incite violence, hateful and discriminatory behavior, self-harm, or dangerous acts, but may allow videos that show violence for documentary, educational, or scientific reasons or fictional content like horror movies.

The video-sharing app also announced Tuesday rollout of a text-to-speech feature that allows people to convert typed text to voice that plays over the text on the video.

A COVID-19 resource hub accessible from the app’s Discover page will also be updated.

“Over the coming week our in-app coronavirus resource hub will be updated with commonly asked questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccines from public health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control,” Keenan said in the blog post.

TikTok also recently announced rollout of an epilepsy warning for photosensitive videos.


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