TikTok is facing legal action following the deaths of two children, who passed away after attempting the “blackout challenge.” The parents have now spoken out about why they’re taking action against the video-sharing app.
Earlier this year, TikTok was hit with a lawsuit from Pennsylvania mother Tawainna Anderson, whose 10-year-old daughter, Nylah, had passed away after purportedly attempting the “blackout challenge” she’d seen on TikTok.
Nylah’s death occurred in December 2021. Nylah’s family rushed her to the hospital, but she did not survive, leaving her relatives distraught and searching for answers.
Now, other parents are taking legal action against the viral video platform following the deaths of two more children due to the “blackout challenge.”
The “blackout challenge” refers to a trend where people attempt to hold their breath or even strangle themselves for as long as possible before passing out.
Two children dead after reportedly trying TikTok “blackout challenge”
Nine-year-old Arriani Jaileen Arroyo and eight-year-old Lalani Erika Walton were both found deceased after watching videos of the blackout challenge.
A report from the LA Times claims that Lalai’s stepmother found her stepdaughter “hanging from her bed with a rope around her neck” after watching blackout challenge clips.
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Arriani’s father reportedly discovered his daughter “hanging from the family dog’s leash” in the basement after “she gradually became obsessive” over TikTok.
Two wrongful death suits have been filed against the social media company in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, one of which argues that “TikTok’s product and its algorithm directed exceedingly and unacceptably dangerous challenges and videos.”
“This is not easy, to wake up every day and know that your little girl is never coming back,” Arriani’s mother Christal Arroyo Roman said on Good Morning America. “We just never thought that there was a darker side to what TikTok allows on its platform.”
The lawsuit claims that “TikTok’s algorithm was designed to promote ‘TikTok Challenges’ to young users to increase their engagement and maximize TikTok’s profits.”
Although TikTok has not yet commented on these two most recent lawsuits at the time of writing, the company did reach out to clarify criticism regarding the “blackout challenge” last year.
“This disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
It’s true that the blackout challenge has been around for some time, with studies reporting that 82 children were fatally injured after trying the dare between 1995 – 2007.
These latest suits follow news of FCC commissioner Brendan Carr urging both Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app stores, claiming the platform presents “a serious national security threat.”