TikTok is announcing today that it’s taking a couple small steps to try and help people who are affected by eating disorders. To do this, it’s partnering with the National Eating Disorder Association (or NEDA) to have an eating disorder awareness week, and implementing two new features that aim to provide resources and support to those who need it.
This article contains some discussion of eating disorders. If you’re struggling with one, you can contact NEDA’s support line, and if you’re concerned about a family member, resources are available from the Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders organization.
If a user searches TikTok for terms like “proana” (short for “pro-anorexia”), or “eating disorder,” the app will now show support resources, along with NEDA’s phone number. Currently, searching the terms only shows the support number, but the new interface will also provide users with advice on how to deal with an eating disorder.
The company also plans on putting a PSA on hashtag pages that could potentially contain triggering content, like the page for #WhatIEatInADay. The PSA will include a link to NEDA’s helpline, as well as a number users can text for crisis support.
TikTok is facing the same problem as many other social media apps: how do you keep your users from posting or stumbling across potentially triggering and harmful content? TikTok has tried to deal with eating disorder content in the past, but users report that it still shows up. While today’s announcement doesn’t touch on actually moderating content, hopefully it can help make it easier for people who need help to get it.