The social media platform and short video, TikTok, has again been sued in the United States. This time, the demands were made by a number of parents whose children died due to the ‘blackout challenge’ on their portal.
The blackout challenge is one of the challenges in the ByteDance application that invites users to strangle themselves with ropes or other items until they pass out. This challenge is considered dangerous because it has been the cause of death for several children who have tried it.
Launching The Verge (11/7), the lawsuit contains accusations that the TikTok algorithm has recommended a ‘blackout challenge’ to children. In this information, it is stated that all children who died as a result of the challenge were less than 15 years old.
Furthermore, the lawsuit against TikTok has entered the Los Angeles County High Court, United States on Friday (1/7). The lawsuit states that two children have died due to the challenges recommended by the application.
The latest lawsuit comes from the parents of Lalani Walton (8 years) and Arriani Arroyo (9 years) last June. In their lawsuit, representatives for Walton and Arroyo said their late son had never sought the challenge. They allege that TikTok curated the video of this challenge and thought it was suitable for children.
In addition to Walton and Arroyo, five other victims who died during 2021 due to taking part in the Blackout Challenge came from Italy (10 years), Colorado, USA (12 years), Australia (14 years), Oklahoma, USA (12 years) and Pennsylvania, USA ( 10 years).
Nylah Anderson, the mother of a Pennsylvania victim, has also sued TikTok over the ‘blackout challenge’. He alleged, this application deliberately presents a dangerous challenge to the children.
In response to Anderson’s lawsuit, TikTok revealed it had blocked users searching for the keyword ‘blackout challenge’. In the search results, TikTok will display a screen warning that the challenge can be dangerous, annoying or fake.
However, a lawsuit from Walton and Arroyo’s parents reveals that their children are not looking for a challenge when viewing videos on TikTok. Instead, the lawsuit says, TikTok has placed the video of the challenge on the app’s main screen, on its For You page.
In this regard, a spokesman for TikTok, Mahsau Cullinane stated, the challenge was known to come from sources outside of TikTok. He said this challenge had existed for a long time and had never been a trend on their platform.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and will promptly remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss,” Cullinane said.