The family of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly participated in a viral ‘TikTok’ challenge in which people choke themselves until they black out has sued the Chinese-owned social media platform, Bloomberg reports.
Nylah Anderson, was found unconscious in her Philadelphia bedroom on Dec. 7 and was rushed to a pediatric intensive care unit, where she died five days later, reads a Thursday complaint filed in federal court – which we’re guessing will be used to justify more regulations at some point.
According to the complaint, the dangerous stunt “was thrust in front” of Anderson when TikTok presented the viral challenge 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,” continues the complaint, which also names parent company ByteDance as a defendant.
TikTok does not comment on ongoing litigation, a company spokesperson said. In a previous statement issued 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.”
TikTok remains vigilant in its commitment to user safety and would remove any content related to the blackout challenge from its app, the spokesperson said, adding “our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.” -Bloomberg
The lawsuit alleges that at least four children have died while participating in the blackout challenge, where people choke themselves with household items such as a rope or cord until they black out for a few seconds in order to experience a euphoric rush once regaining consciousness.
“Social media giants like the TikTok defendants have seized the opportunity presented by the digital wild west to manipulate and control the behavior of vulnerable children to maximize attention dedicated to their social media platforms and thus maximize revenues and profits, all while shirking any safety responsibilities whatsoever,” the lawsuit reads.
The case is Anderson v. TikTok Inc., 22-cv-01849, US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.