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Unlike TV programmes, social media platforms would not have to present warnings when probably dangerous flashing photos are about to look

A rising variety of individuals with epilepsy have stated they’re having seizures triggered by flashing photos on social media, a charity has warned.

The Epilepsy Society desires the federal government’s new plans to tackle “online harms” to suggest warnings about flashing photos on social media.

More than 18,000 individuals within the UK are thought to have epilepsy that may be triggered by photosensitivity.

The charity says cyber-bullies put up malicious content material deliberately.

The Epilepsy Society says anybody discovered responsible of posting dangerous photos deliberately needs to be prosecuted for assault.

The authorities stated it might seek the advice of with the charity on the problem.

Facebook – which additionally owns Instagram – stated it had “strict insurance policies in place to assist individuals who encounter abusive behaviour”.

Unlike TV programmes, that are regulated by Ofcom, social media websites would not have to present a warning when probably dangerous flashing photos are about to look.

About 20,000 individuals within the UK have photosensitive epilepsy – the place seizures are triggered by flashing lights or contrasting, fast-moving photos, in keeping with the Epilepsy Society.

The situation is most typical in youngsters and younger individuals.

Epilepsy Society chief govt Clare Pelham stated many Facebook and Instagram customers shared movies with probably harmful content material with out realising the chance they posed.

“However, in the case of intentionally concentrating on individuals with epilepsy with the intention of inflicting a seizure… we have to name that behaviour what it’s – a pre-meditated and pre-planned intention to assault,” she stated.

“The authorities should deliver this behaviour inside the attain of the felony legislation.”

Malicious social media posts seem to have helpful details about epilepsy on them, however have photos embedded designed to impress a seizure.

The posts are tagged with key phrases round epilepsy to “intentionally goal these with the situation”, the Epilepsy Society stated.

‘Absolute minefield’

Sophie Harries, a 22-year-old dietitian from Somerset, was recognized with photosensitive epilepsy aged 15.

She stated it was once simpler to keep away from her seizure triggers, though she was not capable of go clubbing, in case there was strobe lighting.

“That continues to be the case, however now I’ve to watch out of any movies uploaded to social media that include strobe lighting or flashing imagery,” she stated.

“The movies are likely to play mechanically placing me liable to a seizure. If my associates have been out clubbing I’ve to keep away from social media for some time.”

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Epilepsy Society

She lately reported a movie trailer to Instagram that contained flashing lights, however it stated the video didn’t breach its phrases of utilization, she stated.

“You can un-follow posts however they nonetheless are likely to observe you round.”

Speaking to BBC Radio four’s Today programme, Ms Harris stated she lately got here throughout a video containing flashing photos, which was tagged intentionally to the Epilepsy Society’s Instagram web page “so as to hurt”.

“For a 15-year-old at the moment it’s an absolute minefield. Young persons are completely on social media with friendship teams.”

The Epilepsy Society has written to Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright asking for his reassurance that the brand new Online Harms paper will safeguard individuals with epilepsy.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, stated: “We will place a legally binding responsibility of care on corporations in the direction of their customers, overseen by an unbiased regulator who will set clear security requirements.

“We are presently consulting on this, and need to hear from the Epilepsy Society, and others, about what steps they wish to see platforms take to make the web a safer place.”

A spokesperson for Facebook and Instagram instructed the BBC that “everybody deserves to get pleasure from the advantages of the web safely”, including the organisations have been exploring methods to make platforms “extra inclusive”.


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