The mom of a 10-year-old girl who passed away after attempting a viral social media challenge has taken legal action against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.
According to court documents obtained by People, Tawainna Anderson’s daughter Nylah Anderson died after taking part in the “Blackout Challenge” which dangerously encourages social media users to try and hold their breaking until they pass out from the lack of oxygen. The mother found Nylah passed out back in December and rushed her to the hospital. However, the child succumbed to her injuries five days later. Incredibly devastating…
Now, Tawainna has submitted a lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Thursday for multiple damages, including wrongful death and negligence. She claims that Nylah was exposed to the challenge while scrolling on the popular social media platform’s “For You Page” – which uses an algorithm to show people certain content based on their interests. The suit states:
“The TikTok Defendants’ algorithm determined that the deadly Blackout Challenge was well-tailored and likely to be of interest to 10-year-old Nylah Anderson, and she died as a result.”
It further alleged that TikTok had “both constructive and actual knowledge” of the app’s algorithm resulting “in dangerous videos being shown to users, including children, and that the app and algorithm were encouraging users to engage in risky and dangerous activities” that could cause harm or worse death. Tawainna also expressed in the docs that Nylah “was an active, happy, healthy, and incredibly intelligent child” who spoke three languages.
This is not the first time that a young kid has died from the game. In 2021, at least three other children – Joshua Haileyesus, Robert Craig, and LaTerius Smith Jr. – passed away while trying to do the life-threatening challenge. Awful.
In response to the lawsuit, representatives for TikTok said they were remaining “vigilant” toward removing any unsafe content for users:
“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. We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.”
Our hearts goes out to Tawainna as she continues to mourn her loss. What are your thoughts on the lawsuit? Let us know in the comments.
[Image via TikTok, 6abc Philadelphia/YouTube]