Government told to confront tech giants about videos that trigger epileptic fits

23 September 2021, 11:34

A computer user
Laptop User Stock. Picture: PA

Epilepsy charity recently warned about ‘deliberate, hate-filled’ flashing images shared on social media.

The Government is being pushed by an MP to confront social media giants about potentially fatal videos designed to trigger epileptic fits.

Clare Pelham, chief executive of the Epilepsy Society, recently warned that epilepsy sufferers are “regularly” targeted on social media with flashing images, describing them as “deliberate, hate-filled crimes”.

Last week, she told the Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) that the charity has been forced to recruit a person dedicated to finding and reporting posts intended to cause fits.

In response to further evidence given to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, chair Julian Knight has written to new Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries urging the Government to take immediate action and not wait for it to be included in the Online Safety Bill.

Julian Knight
Julian Knight wrote to the Digital Secretary saying Government should not wait the Online Safety Bill to address the issue (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“Sending a video designed to trigger an epileptic fit, carrying the potential to be fatal, is completely unacceptable,” Mr Knight said.

“The main platforms should not allow this to happen and and should be ordered to investigate a technical solution to ensure that people with epilepsy do not risk their health simply by opening a message online.

“We urge Secretary of State Nadine Dorries to hold social media companies to account on this matter – it should not have to await consideration in the Online Safety Bill.”

More than half a million people in the UK have epilepsy – around one in 100 people – according to the charity.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

The former president launched his app to compete with tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

Donald Trump launches 'Truth' social media platform after exile from Twitter and Facebook

It is the second outage in a week

Facebook, Instagram and Messenger down for second time in a week

The source code of Twitch was posted online

Twitch data breach: What you need to know

Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went down in a major outage

WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram back online after suffering six-hour outage

Queen's Baton Relay baton

‘Smart’ baton using cutting-edge technology unveiled for Queen’s Baton Relay

YouTube displayed on a laptop computer

YouTube to remove misinformation videos about all vaccines

Amazon's Astro robot

Amazon introduces home robot alongside new Echo devices

A person using a laptop

Pandemic sparks demand for greater use of tech in public safety – report

An Instagram page

Instagram for children plans ‘paused’, company says


Labour proposes ‘legal duty of care’ on social media firms to stop scams

Stuart and Amanda Stephens

Family of tragic 13-year-old Olly urge parents to take phones off teenagers

Customers enter Apple shop

Queues return to Apple Stores as the iPhone 13 goes on sale

Online fraud

New laws needed to protect people from online scams, Which? warns


Ofcom ‘needs powers to audit tech firms to prevent online harms’

Scientist with petri dish

Scientists use AI to help discover new treatment for deadly childhood cancer


Online Safety Bill not suitable for fraud, Google and Facebook suggest