Short-video app TikTok is adding new resources and warnings to in-app search when the results could include “distressing” content. This is an expansion of the app’s sensitive content warnings implemented in 2020. Users will now see the new alerts in search results that could potentially include sensitive content.
Additionally, TikTok is also tweaking its search results by adding more resources to searches related to self-harm and suicide. When a user searches for such content, the app will show links to helplines including the Crisis Text Line.
TikTok’s blog post added that it will also use fellow creators’ content that talks about their “personal experiences with mental well-being.” Users will also find “information on where to seek support and advice on how to talk to loved ones about these issues.”
This update comes days after the end of National Suicide Prevention Week 2021
The algorithms kick in when a user searches for the term “suicide” on the platform. When this occurs, TikTok will direct users to the necessary support material and mental health helplines. It’s worth noting that the timing of TikTok’s announcement comes just days after the end of National Suicide Prevention Week 2021.
With social media platforms gaining more prominence, app developers bear some responsibility for the content on their platforms. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have dealt with this for a long. So it was only a matter of time before TikTok took some steps to safeguard the mental health of its viewers. It recently surpassed Facebook as the most downloaded app, speaking volumes about TikTok’s dominance in the marketplace.
However, the platform wasn’t without its issues. As Engadget notes, a suicide video went viral on TikTok last year. Although the video was first streamed to Facebook Live, several users made copies and reposted them on the platform. On the other hand, some TikTok creators posted videos urging people to not share such content. TikTok can now positively leverage the popularity of its creators to help spread positivity and PSAs on suicide prevention.
You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you know is depressed and has considered self-harm or suicide. Alternatively, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 in the U.S., 686868 in Canada, and 85258 across the United Kingdom.