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TikTok Unveils Tools in App to Tackle Mental-Health Issues

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(Bloomberg) -- TikTok, the video-sharing app owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd., said it’s stepping up tools to support users facing mental health issues, including redirecting potentially distressed users to suicide-prevention or eating-disorder resources.

When users search the app for terms like “suicide,” TikTok will point them to local support organizations such as the Crisis Text Line to find treatment, the company said Tuesday in a blog post. TikTok also plans to promote videos of content creators talking about their mental health challenges and will offer advice on how to talk to loved ones about these issues.

The viral video-sharing app also said it would add labels to sensitive content, giving users the ability to decide whether to see the content before it’s shown. TikTok has also created a guide on eating disorders for teenagers, caregivers and educators in consultation with experts.

The blog post arrived following a report in the Wall Street Journal about the harmful mental health effects of Facebook Inc.’s Instagram app, a rival to TikTok. Citing internal Facebook documents, the newspaper wrote that the social media giant has conducted studies showing its photo-sharing app is toxic for young users, especially teenage girls.

Facebook’s platforms also offer similar tools to support people struggling with mental health issues, including eating disorders or thoughts of suicide.

(Updates to add Facebook’s resources in final paragraph.)

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