The mother is suing TikTok after her 10-year-old daughter died from an attempt at a dangerous trick called “blackout problems” she learned about in the app. Tawain Anderson said that in December 2021, her daughter Niall was taken to hospital after an attempted call that encourages users to suffocate until she loses consciousness. A few days before her death she was in intensive care.
In her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, Anderson says her daughter heard about a call from TikTok’s “for you” page, which serves users’ videos based on the algorithm. “The TikTok algorithm determined that the deadly Blackout Challenge was well adapted and probably interested 10-year-old Niall Anderson, and she died as a result,” the suit said.
Before her death, Niall was “an active, happy, healthy and incredibly smart child,” the costume says. “Although she was only 10 years old, Niall spoke three languages.”
The costume cites several messages confirming that social media can negatively impact young children, especially their mental health. The algorithm, according to the suit, takes into account the demographics of users, including age, and the fact that it preys on “vulnerable users such as children who are involved in an endless circle of dopamine feedback that creates addiction and a reluctant to engage further in TikTok Defenders app ”.
The suit mentions several other dangerous problems that were prevalent in TikTok, such as the “milk boxes” task, in which users tried to climb the shaky pyramid of milk boxes that sometimes collapsed beneath them and could lead to injuries.
“One of the deadliest TikTok trials in the TikTok Defendants app and promoted to users using their FYP algorithm is the TikTok Blackout Challenge, which encourages users to strangle themselves with belts, wallets or something similar until they lose consciousness. “- said in a suit.
The lawsuit alleges that TikTok knew about several other children who died from the problem, and says Niall is the last on the growing list. In April 2021, the family of 12-year-old Joshua Hailesus of Colorado said he may have died while on call.
The family believes he may have been trying to strangle himself with a shoelace, This was reported by KCNC.
Anderson’s costume says Niall tried the test and died as a result of “corrosive TikTok marketing practices.” Mom is suing the social media giant on several counts, including unlawful death, strict liability for food and negligence. She is suing for damages, which is not named.
Anderson said CBS Philadelphia that she can’t stop playing the day her daughter died in her head. “I want to bring this company to justice,” Anderson said. “It’s time for these dangerous challenges to end so that other families don’t feel the broken heart we live in every day.”
“Our lawsuit concerns not just the publication of the video, but the actions TikTok took to send the video to Niall,” said attorney Jeffrey Goodman, a partner at Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky PC.
CBS News has asked TikTok for comment and is awaiting a response.