By B.N. Frank
Last week was not a good week for TikTok. A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner asked Google and Apple to stop offering the app completely due to significant national security risks. Two families also filed wrongful death lawsuits against the company.
From the New York Post:
TikTok sued after young girls die in ‘blackout challenge’
By Jon Levine
TikTok is facing wrongful death lawsuits after two young girls killed themselves trying to recreate “blackout challenge” videos they watched on the platform.
Lalani Erika Walton, 8, and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, 9, both wound up dead after watching hours of the videos featuring the challenge fed to them by TikTok’s algorithm, the suits allege, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The actions were filed jointly Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The blackout challenge — the latest in a string of dangerous viral fads to circulate on the platform — promotes a form of self-strangulation by challenging users to see how long they can go holding their breath. The game can have deadly consequences.
Lalani was found in her bedroom “hanging from her bed with a rope around her neck,” while Arriani was found hanging from a dog leash in her basement.
“TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design and develop its product to encourage, enable, and push content to teens and children that defendant knows to be problematic and highly detrimental to its minor users’ mental health,” the lawsuit says.
TikTok did not respond to request for comment from The Post, but in the past has denied responsibility for the issue, saying “choking game” injuries from young people long predate the Blackout Challenge.
The blackout challenge is far from the first dangerous game to go viral on social media in recent years. On TikTok and other platforms, users have been encouraged to eat Tide Pods and gulp down cinnamon. Other dangerous stunts have included the “OrbeezChallenge” the “Benadryl challenge” and the “skull breaker challenge.”
Of course, TikTok is no stranger to controversy. In 2021, researchers started studying TikTok videos to see if there was a possible link between watching them and an increase in tics, Tourette Syndrome, and other movement disorders in teenagers.
Activist Post reports regularly about social media and unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives.
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