TikTok has recently been controversial as the ‘blackout challenge’ on the platform has allegedly killed seven children. Parents claim that the application algorithm is the main culprit since it displayed deadly challenges to the kids.
The parents are suing TikTok for showing videos of the ‘blackout challenge.’ A June lawsuit against the company claims seven children died after attempting the challenge last year.
The complaint states it “encourages users to choke themselves with belts, purse strings, or anything similar until passing out.” The children who died due to the challenge are reportedly under 15.
The parents of Lalani Walton (an eight-year) and Arriani Arroyo (nine years old) brought the latest litigation against the company.
It also cites that numerous other children have died due to the challenge, which is evidence that TikTok was aware of the consequences of such challenges and failed to take strict action against them.
Apart from Walton and Arroyo, the other case list includes:
- A 10-year-old in Pennsylvania who reportedly died in December 2021
- A 10-year-old in Italy who reportedly died in January 2021
- A 12-year-old in Oklahoma who reportedly died in July 2021
- A 12-year-old in Colorado who reportedly died in March 2021
- A 14-year-old in Australia who reportedly died in June 2021
The mother of Pennsylvanian kid Nylah Anderson claims that the platform “pushed exceedingly and unacceptably dangerous challenges.” TikTok responded via The Washington Post, claiming that it blocked users from searching for the blackout challenge.
However, users instead see a warning screen stating “some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing, or even fabricated” while linking to a page in the application about assessing warnings and challenges.
However, the newer lawsuits of Arroyo and Smith claim that their children weren’t even searching and instead saw the videos for the challenge, thus claiming that TikTok placed it in front of them on the app’s main screen on the “For You” page.
The suit accuses TikTok of having “specifically curated and determined that these Blackout Challenge videos – videos featuring users who purposefully strangulate themselves until losing consciousness – are appropriate and fitting for small children.”
TikTok spokesperson Mahsau Cullinane, in response, provides the company’s previous statement on the issue “This disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend.
We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.