PHILADELPHIA — A mother has filed a lawsuit against the app TikTok after her daughter died attempting a social media challenge.
Nylah Anderson died Dec. 12 after taking part in the “Blackout Challenge,” which calls for people to attempt to hold their breath until they pass out, WPVI reported.
Nylah’s mother, Tawainna Anderson, found her 10-year-old in her closet and rushed her to a hospital, where she died several days later, NBC News reported.
The lawsuit accuses TikTok of negligence, acknowledging that while the app does not create the content, “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.”
“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,” the suit reads.
“I want to hold this company accountable,” Tawainna Anderson told KYW. “It is time that these dangerous challenges come to an end, that other families don’t experience the heartbreak we live every day.”
In a statement to NBC News, TikTok said, “The disturbing ‘challenge,’ which people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend.”
TikTok pointed to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that cited the “choking game” as causing 82 deaths between 1995 and 2007, before TikTok was invented.
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