Popular social media platform TikTok announced on Monday that the platform is going to roll out a gamut of new features that will help the teenagers who use the platform to vent their suicidal thoughts and other psychological issues.
A blog by the Director of Policy of the company, Tara Wadhwa, read that the platform feels responsible to contribute to the mental well-being of the users. Any user who looks up the word “suicide” will get an option to connect to the local Crisis Text Line. The users will also be able to reach the “well-being guides” through the app’s Safety Center.
According to the blog, the guides have been developed with the help of multiple associations such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, Live For Tomorrow, Samaritans of Singapore, and Samaritans (UK). The users will be directed to the guides if they look up “Suicide”. Apart from suicide, for those who suffer from eating disorders, looking up words related to eating disorders will guide them to resources related to the problem. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) CEO, Elizabeth Thomson said, “In the United States, 30 million Americans will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.”
While we don’t allow content that promotes, glorifies, or normalizes suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders, we do support people who choose to share their experiences to raise awareness, help others who might be struggling and find support among our community,” said Wadhwa in the blog.
TikTok’s announcement has made it difficult for its direct rivals Facebook, INC (FB) who were blasted by the lawmakers for directly contributing to the depression of the teenagers.
In a letter to Facebook in April, the lawmakers cited that, “separate research shows that more than one in five young Instagram users are victims of bullying on the platform.” Asking Zuckerberg to abandon his plan to introduce Instagram for the youth, the lawmakers referred to some scholarly studies and cited the platform’s inability to protect the well-being of the users.
The letter said, “Children and teens are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and devastating picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to young people’s well-being. We are deeply concerned that your company continues to fail in its obligation to protect young users and has yet to commit to halt its plans to launch new platforms targeting children and teens.”
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