A woman is suing TikTok after her daughter died while attempting a viral challenge she saw on the app called the “blackout challenge.”
According to the Pennsylvania mother, Tawainna Anderson, her 10-year-old daughter choked to death after taking part in the risky social media challenge, and she has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.
In the lawsuit, Tawainna Anderson said her daughter, Nylah Anderson, participated in a ‘blackout challenge’ after it appeared on her ‘For You’ page in December.
The ‘blackout challenge’ urges users to try to hold their breath until they pass out, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Thursday.
In December 2021, Anderson rushed her daughter to the hospital after finding she passed out.
The 10-year-old spent nearly a week in a pediatric intensive care unit before she died from her injuries, the lawsuit said.
Tawainna Anderson accused TikTok of having a ‘defective design,’ and that the company’s algorithms are exposing young children to dangerous ideas.
“The viral and deadly TikTok Blackout Challenge was thrust in front of Nylah on her TikTok For You Page … as a result of TikTok’s algorithm, 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”, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit describes Nylah as an ‘active, happy, healthy and incredibly intelligent child’ who spoke three languages by the time she turned 10.
At the time of her death, her mother told ABC13, “She was a butterfly, she was everything, she was a happy child.”
TikTok reacting to the mum’s lawsuit said in its statement said that the ‘disturbing challenge’ long predates their platform, and had never been a ‘TikTok trend.’
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found,’ the company said in the statement. ‘Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss”. The statement read.