By Tara Wadhwa, Director of Policy, TikTok US
From new pasta recipes to #BookTok recommendations, TikTok is where hundreds of millions come to express their creativity and find community. For some, that includes sharing life experiences and finding comfort in knowing that they are not alone in what they are going through - whether it's new parents talking about how to cope with the lack of sleep or mindfulness tips to manage anxiety.
We're inspired by how our community openly, honestly and creatively shares about important issues such as mental well-being or body image, and how they lift each other up and lend help during difficult times.
We care deeply about our community, and we always look for new ways in which we can nurture their well-being. That's why we're taking additional steps to make it easier for people to find resources when they need them on TikTok.
Additional well-being resources to support our community
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.
To help our community do this safely, we've rolled out new well-being guides to support people who choose to share their personal experiences on our platform, developed with the guidance of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, Crisis Text Line, Live For Tomorrow, Samaritans of Singapore and Samaritans (UK). The guides, which are available on our Safety Center for informational purposes only, also offer tips to help our community members responsibly engage with someone who may be struggling or in distress.
In addition, we're featuring curated content from our partner organizations to learn about and explore important well-being issues. This in-app programming is currently live, having started September 10 and running through September 16.
Expanded guide on eating disorders
Earlier this year, we rolled out new features to support users who may be living with or recovering from an eating disorder. When a user searches for terms related to eating disorders, we provide them with suggested tools and direct them to appropriate resources. We've also introduced permanent public service announcements (PSAs) on certain hashtags, such as #whatIeatinaday, to increase awareness and provide support for our community.
We're now expanding these resources with a new Safety Center guide on eating disorders for teens, caregivers, and educators. Developed in consultation with independent experts including the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), National Eating Disorder Information Centre, Butterfly Foundation, and Bodywhys, this guide will provide information, support and advice on eating disorders.
"In the United States, 30 million Americans will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) commends TikTok for continuing to find ways to both support its community and bring awareness to these serious, yet treatable, illnesses. These new resources will make information easily accessible on TikTok." -- Elizabeth Thompson, Interim CEO, NEDA
Expanding search interventions
When someone searches for words or phrases such as #suicide, we'll direct them to local support resources such as the Crisis Text Line helpline, where they can find support and information about treatment options.
Following consultation with independent experts, we've also provided our community with content from our creators where they share their personal experiences with mental well-being, information on where to seek support and advice on how to talk to loved ones about these issues. These videos will appear in search results for certain terms related to suicide or self-harm, with our community able to opt-in to view should they wish to.
"Through their partnership with TikTok, Crisis Text Line is able to provide access to free, 24/7 crisis counseling via text to anyone who finds themselves in crisis; however, they define it. TikTok reaches millions of people so we know these changes will have a profound impact and help many people move from a hot moment to a cool calm." -- Maggie Farah, Senior Director of Business Development, Crisis Text Line
Strengthening our notices on search results
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe, we will also be updating our existing warning label for sensitive content. Beginning in September, when a user searches for terms that may bring up content that some may find distressing, for example ‘scary make-up’, the search results page will be covered with an opt-in viewing screen. Individuals will be able to click 'Show results' to continue to see the content. The opt-in viewing screens already appear on top of videos that some may find graphic or distressing, with this type of content ineligible for recommendation into anyone's For You feed.
We’re proud that our platform has become a place where people can share their personal experiences with mental well-being, find community and support each other, and we take very seriously our responsibility to keep TikTok a safe space for these important conversations.
The guides and resources shared on our platform are purely for informational purposes and are not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice. Please reach out to a qualified professional if you have questions or concerns about any mental or physical conditions. If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, reach out to a suicide prevention hotline.