Beware of the challenges that are going viral on social media as some of them can be harmful to us.
TikTok Inc is currently facing a lawsuit for the death of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly participated in the “blackout challenge”, which people choke themselves until they black out.
The girl, Nylah Anderson was found unconscious in her bedroom in suburban Philadelphia on 7 December, according to a complaint that was filed on 12 May in the US federal court. She then spent five days in a paediatric intensive care unit before succumbing to her injuries.
In the lawsuit, Tawainna Anderson, the girl’s mother accused the social media platform of marketing a defective product and negligence. She said that the dangerous challenge “was thrust in front” of the girl by TikTok on her “for you” page.
“The algorithm determined that the deadly blackout challenge was well-tailored and likely to be of interest to 10-year-old Nylah Anderson and she died as a result.” according to the complaint, reported Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, TikTok has yet to comment on the litigation. In a previous statement in response to Anderson’s death, the company said “this disturbing challenge, which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform”.
The spokesperson said it remained vigilant in its commitment to user safety and will remove any content related to the blackout challenge from its app. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss” he added.
It was reported that at least 4 other children have lost their lives while participating in the blackout challenge, according to the Andersons’ suit.
The challenge requires participants to choke themselves with household items like a shoelace or power cord until they black out for a few seconds and then capture the euphoric rush they get regaining consciousness.
At a press conference, Tawainna said since her daughter’s death she had discovered Nylah wasn’t the only victim of the blackout challenge.
“It is time that these dangerous challenges come to an end so that other families don’t experience the heartbreak that we live everyday,” she added.
The blackout challenge has appeared on other social media apps, but the forensic analysis of Nylah’s mobile showed TikTok was in use at the time of the incident, said Jeffrey Goodman, an attorney for the family with Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C.
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