Staying Safe on Social Media
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Safety on Social Media and Other Platforms
Social media can be a great place to connect with friends, family, celebrities, and organizations and stay informed about what is going on. However, some content on social media, like GIFs and videos, can be potentially harmful to people with reflex epilepsies and photosensitivities, including people living with photosensitive epilepsy, sunflower syndrome, and migraines.
For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or visual patterns can trigger seizures. Some GIFs and videos with strobe effects on social media platforms have been known to cause seizures in people living with photosensitivity.
How to Disable Video Autoplay
It is possible on most social media and some website browsers to turn off or disable the video autoplay feature. Taking this step on the tools you use can help limit your risk of exposure to potentially seizure and headache-inducing content.
- How to Disable Autoplay on Facebook
- How to Disable Autoplay on Twitter (scroll down to the section labeled “Watching videos on Twitter” for the steps to turn off autoplay)
- How to Disable Autoplay Previews on Netflix (Scroll down to the section labeled "Autoplay Previews while Browsing on All Devices" for the steps to turn off autoplay)
- How to Allow or Block Media Autoplay in Firefox
- Google Chrome:
- Open a Chrome window and enter “chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy”
- Next to “Autoplay policy,” change “Default” to “Document user activation is required”
- Relaunch browser
- Find tips for other platforms in this March 29, 2019, article published in The Verge.
Instagram does not currently have an option to toggle off autoplay. However some tech blogs suggest that changing account settings to "Use Less Data" will slow the load time and prevent video loading. To change this setting:
- Open the Instagram app and go to your profile page
- Tap the three lines at the top right and then ‘Settings’
- Go to Account > Cellular Data Use
- Turn on ‘Use Less Data’
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