TikTok is being sued by the family of a 10-year-old girl who died after trying the “Blackout Challenge,” a viral stunt where people choke themselves until they blackout. The family of Nylah Anderson says that TikTok is guilty of marketing a defective product and negligence by allowing the videos of the dangerous stunt to be “thrust in front” of Anderson.
The lawsuit also calls the social media platform space the “digital wild west,” bringing into question what happens when social media companies are allowed to run amok. It also lists a handful of other viral “challenges,” like the “Skullbreaker Challenge” and the “Benadryl Challenge,” which resulted in many children overdosing on the allergy medication.
“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,” reads the lawsuit.
TikTok said it doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation, but it did say that “this disturbing challenge, which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform.” A spokesperson from TikTok added that the company is committed to user safety and would remove any content related to the challenge, adding, “our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.”