Workshop Proceedings of the 18th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: Data for the Wellbeing of Most Vulnerable

DOI: 10.36190/2024.23

Published: 2024-06-01
Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring the Intersections of Mental Health, Eating Disorders, and Content Moderation on TikTok
Charles Bickham, Kia Kazemi-Nia, Luca Luceri, Kristina Lerman, Emilio Ferrara

Social media platforms actively moderate content glorifying harmful behaviors like eating disorders, which include anorexia and bulimia. However, users have adapted to evade moderation by using coded hashtags. Our study investigates the prevalence of moderation evaders on the popular social media platform TikTok and contrasts their use and emotional valence with mainstream hashtags. We notice that moderation evaders and mainstream hashtags appear together, indicating that vulnerable users might inadvertently encounter harmful content even when searching for mainstream terms. Additionally, through an analysis of emotional expressions in video descriptions and comments, we find that mainstream hashtags generally promote positive engagement, while moderation evaders evoke a wider range of emotions, including heightened negativity. These findings provide valuable insights for content creators, platform moderation efforts, and interventions aimed at cultivating a supportive online environment for discussions on mental health and eating disorders.