TikTok Sued After 'Blackout Challenge' Deaths
At this point, we've seen and joined god-knows-how-many random challenges (that we, for some reason, do) on TikTok because, well, we just had to. But it's all fun and games until one more trend takes it a little too far. In California, a lawsuit has been filed against the social media giant after a couple of young girls in the United States died last year because of a certain challenge. The children took part in what was called the "Blackout Challenge" at the time and passed away due to self-strangulation.
The said challenge turned choking into a game and people got in on it. It basically entailed that we choke ourselves until we pass out. Various people around the world participated in it, as well. Now, the Social Media Victims Law Center, has intervened and has taken it up with Los Angeles courts.
“TikTok needs to be held accountable for pushing deadly content to these two young girls,” said Atty. Matthew Bergman, who works for the group that filed the lawsuit. “TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design products that push dangerous content that it knows are dangerous and can result in the deaths of its users.”
According to the suit, Tiktok allegedly had its algorithm promote the challenge, having it target the children. The eight year old and nine year old each died after the former used a rope and the latter, a dog leash. The Blackout Challenge has also been linked to other deaths in Italy, Australia, and more.
Also detailed in the document are other dangerous challenges promoted on the app, including “Skull Breaker Challenge,” where individuals jump and have their legs kicked out from under them. Yes, you guessed it: they hit their heads on the floor.
During the pandemic, TikTok even had the “Coronavirus Challenge,” where we had people licking floors and surfaces all over the place in the middle of a pandemic. The "Fire Challenge," on the other hand, had us literally dousing stuff in flammable liquid for the heck of it.
The lawsuit wants the Los Angeles judge to put a stop to Tiktok, saying that it should quit taking advantage of children through its algorithm. Of course, the group calls on the court to put an end to the app's dangerous challenges and to pay the victims' families their due compensation for the damages.
About a week ago, America's Federal Communications Commission commissioner Brendan Carr had also called upon Apple and Google to consider banning TikTok from their app stores over security concerns.