Video-sharing platform says it will launch Wellbeing Guides created in collaboration with support groups
TikTok on Tuesday detailed a new effort to provide resources for people struggling with mental health or body image issues, an initiative that rival platform Instagram announced as its potential negative impact on teen users But facing investigation.
The video-sharing platform said it would launch Wellbeing Guides created in collaboration with support groups such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Text Line. According to TikTok, the guides will support those in need and offer suggestions for those who want to “connect responsibly with anyone who is struggling or in distress”.
Other safety features include the creation of a “Safety Center” guide on eating disorders and a “Search Intervention” feature, which redirects searches for words marked #suicide to the Crisis Text Line helpline. Starting this month, TikTok will apply a “disturbing content” warning to videos deemed potentially disturbing to users.
Instagram acknowledges app may harm teens’ self-esteem in response to reports
“After consultation with independent experts, we have also provided our community with content from our creators where they share their personal experiences with mental wellness, advice on how to talk to loved ones about these issues, and more. Where to get the information,” said Tara Wadhwa, Director of Policy at TikTok US.
The announcement of TikTok comes just after the National Suicide Prevention Week, which ran from September 5 to September 11. Social media platforms have faced ongoing scrutiny from lawmakers and public health advocates about their impact on young users’ self-esteem and mental health.
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Earlier on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook, the owner of the photo-sharing platform Instagram, launched a study in which researchers warned of harmful effects on the mental health of adolescents.
In a March 2020 slide presentation obtained by the journal, researchers said, “Thirty-two percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”
One presentation showed that among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 6% of US users linked their feelings to Instagram.
In response, Instagram said in a blog post that the report “focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light.”
Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, said the research reviewed in the journal report “reflects our commitment to understanding the complex and difficult issues that young people can struggle with, and to help those facing these issues.” inform us about all the work we do for it.”