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TikTok is going to fight the spread of misinformation on eating disorders

TikTok will be teaming with the National Eating Disorder Association for a new awareness week

This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. From the perspective of teens flooding onto TikTok, the Chinese-owned online video app is a major new outlet for self-expression, one proudly home to the silly, the loud and the weird. To others, though, the service is an unnerving black box that could be sharing information with the Chinese government, facilitating espionage, or just promoting videos and songs some parents consider lewd. (AP Photo)
This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. From the perspective of teens flooding onto TikTok, the Chinese-owned online video app is a major new outlet for self-expression, one proudly home to the silly, the loud and the weird. TikTok will be teaming with the National Eating Disorder Association for a new awareness week
Associated Press

TikTok has announced that it will soon team up with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to stop the spread of misinformation about eating disorders.

What’s going on?

TikTok and NEDA will host an eating disorder awareness week in the near future. The companies will help teach people about eating disorders and stop the spread of misinformation, The Verge reports.

  • Specifically, TikTok will show support resources to people who search for “proana” (short for “pro-anorexia”), or “eating disorder” on TikTok.
  • The app will also show the phone number for NEDA, according to The Verge.
  • The search terms will lead to a new page that will show tips on how to deal with a disorder, too.

Flashback

Back in December 2020, TikTok started an investigation and banned some search terms after the discovery of pro-anorexia content on the app, according to The Guardian.

According to BuzzFeed News, the content was accessible on the TikTok “For You Page” — which is the main feed for TikTok — despite TikTok’s community guidelines blocking videos that ”promote eating habits that are likely to cause health issues.”

  • An investigation from The Guardian found that the harmful content “was still easily searchable despite measures taken by the social media company to prohibit the advertising of weight-loss products.”
  • These harmful accounts “were still easy to find,” The Guardian reported. “While the company had blocked some hashtags, putting the same words into a search for profiles brought up dozens of accounts promoting eating disorders.”