A mother is suing TikTok after her daughter died while attempting a viral challenge called “blackout challenge” that she discovered on the app.
The Pennsylvania mother claims her 10-year-old daughter choked to death after taking part in the perilous social media challenge and has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.
Tawainna Anderson claimed in the lawsuit that her daughter, Nylah Anderson, took part in a ‘blackout challenge’ after seeing it on her ‘For You’ page in December.
According to the lawsuit, the ‘blackout challenge’ encourages users to try to hold their breath until they pass out. It was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Anderson rushed her daughter to the hospital in December 2021 after discovering she had passed out.
According to the lawsuit, Nylah spent nearly a week in a pediatric intensive care unit before succumbing to her injuries.
She accused TikTok of ‘defective design,’ claiming that the company’s algorithms expose 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 lawsuit said.
‘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 said.
According to the lawsuit, Nylah was a “active, happy, healthy, and incredibly intelligent child” who spoke three languages by the age of ten.
Her mother told ABC13 at the time of her death, ‘She was a butterfly, she was everything, she was a happy child.’
In response to the mother’s lawsuit, TikTok stated in a statement that the ‘disturbing challenge’ predates their platform and was never 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.’
This is not the first time a child has died as a result of the challenge.
Another child, a 12-year-old boy in Colorado, died after attempting the ‘blackout challenge,’ according to NBC 5.
Joshua Haileyesus died in April 2021, after his twin brother discovered him unconscious in the bathroom. After 19 days, he was taken off life support.