Several parents have sued the social media platform TikTok because the algorithm presented deadly challenges to their children.
TikTok is being sued by several parents.
The Chinese video platform TikTok is currently facing several lawsuits. Some parents are suing the company because their children died trying to complete the so-called “blackout challenge.” In the viral trend, TikTok users challenge each other to choke themselves and pass out from the resulting oxygen deprivation. The challenge will be captured on video and shared via TikTok.
Seven children fall victim to Challenge
At least seven children have died as a result of the challenge in recent years. They were all under the age of 15. The dead include eight-year-old Lalani Walton and nine-year-old Arriani Arroyo. The parents of the two children have filed a lawsuit against TikTok — as has the mother of a 10-year-old Colorado boy who choked to death as part of the challenge in December 2021. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that TikTok
“extremely dangerous and unacceptable challenges”
to put in the app.
TikTok blocks search
In response to the lawsuits, TikTok told The Washington Post that it blocked searches for the “blackout challenge” and instead displayed a warning to all users. It is noted here that
“some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing or even made up”
TikTok should take action against dangerous content
However, the plaintiffs emphasize in the lawsuit that their children did not look for challenges in the app. Instead, the challenges were simply displayed on the home page. TikTok would have thus curated that these dangerous videos were appropriate for children. According to the parents, the platform has a duty
“monitor the videos and challenges shared, posted and/or circulated on its app and platform to ensure that no dangerous and deadly videos and challenges are posted, shared, circulated, endorsed and/or promoted .”
It remains to be seen to what extent TikTok will adapt its app to the demands.