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Advertising Medicine United Kingdom Your Rights Online

Twitter Yanks Ads UK Activists Say Could Trigger Seizures 63

After complaints from UK charity Epilepsy Action, Twitter pulled after less than a day two ads that the group said might cause epileptic seizures. The in-house ads, in the 6-second format of Twitter-owned Vine, consisted of flashing video which the Epilepsy Action said "was dangerous, as it could potentially produce seizures in people who have photo-sensitive epilepsy."
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Twitter Yanks Ads UK Activists Say Could Trigger Seizures

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  • Its full of flashing graphics. I mean just the pages loading in has flashing graphics. Images aren't there... then they are... the page realigns when graphics load in above or below... additional scripts load that change formating.

    If I had photo sensitive epilepsy... I'd need a bib just to use the internet... I'd be foaming all over myself.

    At a bear minimum, I would think I'd just have adblock enabled when I used the internet... because... photo sensitive epilepsy. I'm pretty sure I'd still need a bib.

    • I had occipital lobe epilepsy (i.e. in the visual cortex), and while seizures began with visual hallucinations, I was never susceptible to flashing lights. There was no response to them even on an EEG.

      The strangest case of a trigger I ever heard was the woman who had seizures every time she heard the voice of Mary Hart [nytimes.com] on Entertainment Tonight.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I have epilepsy too and seizure triggers are a really complex issue. I've always been able to stare at stroboscopic lights without anything happening (not even after one night's sleep deprivation prior to an EEG to get a seizure recorded). However, I've repeatedly gotten a seizure if I've broken a pencil lead when writing. Not due to the seizure but 10-20 seconds after it happening, I've gotten one. Similarly, I know at least one phrase which gives me that feeling that a seizure is coming (you too are proba

        • Are you sure that breaking the pencil lead is what's precipitating your seizure? My first thought is that breaking the lead is a harbinger of an oncoming seizure.

          I realize that this could be dangerous and certainly not pleasant, but have you tried, perhaps under a doctor's supervision, purposely breaking the lead while writing to see if it triggers your seizure?
    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday July 12, 2015 @04:46AM (#50092117) Homepage Journal

      It's not just the fast change, it's the repetitive pattern that does it. IIRC, 3Hz and 7Hz are particularly problematic, but other frequencies can be a problem.

      So, square turns from red to green, no problem, square flashed between red and green at 3 Hz, problem.

    • Consider what other posters have written about the trigger instead of assuming any flashing does it.
    • The bear minimum might be a bit too much, how about a wolf minimum? Fox minimum? How low could it go? Mouse minimum might be a wee bit too much.

    • Images aren't there... then they are... the page realigns when graphics load in above or below... additional scripts load that change formating.

      *facepalm* That's not how epilepsy works.

    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      This. I think things derp slightly differently now (and I noscript/requestpolicy everything) but noughtie's internet was oozing with flashing GIFs and shit. Also SWFs. Shoot the duck and win a ringtone! Catch the balloon and win an ipod! You are the 1,000,000th visitor to the site!

      This is yet another example of the post-surfacedwellers internet trying to PC everything. Though, I suppose this instance was a positive one.
  • Adblock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Sunday July 12, 2015 @02:58AM (#50091971) Homepage Journal

    is good for your health.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's nice to have a medical reason to have wildly flashing and distracting ads pulled. Beceuase being an obnoxious distraction making it impossible to focus on the content is not enough when money is at stake.

  • "Twitter is dangerous, as it could potentially produce narcissism in people who have cellular packet-radio telephones."
  • Blink Tag.
  • I don't have epilepsy, but still the flashing animations or music videos which alternate black and white screens are very annoying. They should really be banned for good. Whoever creates such videos for consumption of large number of people should consider it 2nd time before posting their video. Same problem is with discos and restaurants that use flickering or blinking lights synced to the music.

    • why do you think that Fire Police and EMS lights have a very obvious "jitter" to them?

      I would be in favor of having the owners of places charged with aggravated assault / attempted homicide since i would also have such factors in published documents that they would have to read before getting a business license.

  • by dhaen ( 892570 ) on Sunday July 12, 2015 @06:12AM (#50092275)

    In the UK we have specific rules about this for broadcast TV (from OFCOM document ): http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.... [ofcom.org.uk]

    A potentially harmful flash occurs when there is a pair of opposing changes in luminance (i.e., an increase in luminance followed by a decrease, or a decrease followed by an increase) of 20 candelas per square metre (cd.m-2) or more (see notes 1 and 2). This applies only when the screen luminance of the darker image is below 160 cd.m-2. Irrespective of luminance, a transition to or from a saturated red is also potentially harmful. 3.1.1. Isolated single, double, or triple flashes are acceptable, but a sequence of flashes is not permitted when both the following occur: i. the combined area of flashes occurring concurrently occupies more than one quarter of the displayed (see note 3) screen area; and ii. there are more than three flashes within any one-second period. For clarification, successive flashes for which the leading edges are separated by 9 frames or more are acceptable, irrespective of their brightness or screen area.

    Nanny state or not, it makes no sense to have a set of rules for one screen and not another, within a household.

    • Active epilepsy is rare, but not as rare as people think: about 1:100 people. Roughly 1:25 people will have more than one seizure in their lifetime.

      Photosensitive epilepsy is even more rare: about 1:100 among people with epilepsy. So, this means that a stadium filled with 50,000 people (from a completely unbiased cross-section) would have 5 photosensitive epileptics present. But selection is always at work, and photosensitive epileptics tend to shy away from things that might trigger their condition.

      Whi

  • "Warning: This ad may contain peanuts!!!"

  • Why worry about about epileptic people when you have the chance to annoy millions?
  • USA Network Online has one extremely loud commercial, for Polar Pops, that can damage your hearing if you are watching with a headset adjusted for the normal volume range of the program. Mr Robot, meet Mr Deaf Viewer.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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