10-year-old Nylah Anderson was found unconscious in her Pennsylvania bedroom in December. The girl died after five days in intensive care. According to her mother Tawainna, her daughter had participated in the ‘blackout challenge’. Participants try to hold their breath for as long as possible.
Nylah saw a video about the challenge on TikTok’s For You page, family lawyers say, accusing the company of negligence. “TikTok’s algorithm determined that the life-threatening blackout challenge was likely to interest 10-year-old Nylah Anderson, and she died as a result.”
“I want to hold this company accountable. It’s time for these dangerous challenges to end so other families don’t have to go through the suffering we now have to live with every day,” Tawainna told American media.
TikTok has not yet commented on the lawsuit. The company said in an earlier response that it expressed its “deepest condolences” to the family. But TikTok also pointed out that blackout challenge already existed before the video app. “We remain committed to user safety and immediately remove these types of videos as soon as we find them,” the company said.
Several children died
TikTok previously claimed that the blackout challenge “has never been a TikTok trend.” In April last year, a 12-year-old boy in Colorado died after his family also claimed he participated in the blackout challenge.
In Italy a 10-year-old girl died last year, after she was most likely challenged via TikTok to do the blackout challenge. Italy then blocked the app in the country for users whose age was not checked.
last fall zei TikTok to be able to automatically detect risky challenges earlier. “We have new technology that can alert us more quickly to a sudden increase in videos that violate our rules. This also allows us to better counter potentially dangerous behavior,” said an app manager at the time.
TikTok users will also see notifications and warnings when they search for challenges that could be dangerous.
A foundation that represents tens of thousands of concerned parents EU supervisors called upon to intervene at TikTok, because it would not do enough to guarantee the safety of the mostly young users.