TikTok is facing multiple lawsuits after children lost their lives while doing a challenge on the app. The parents who filed the lawsuits said their seven children lost their lives while attempting a ‘blackout challenge’ that they discovered on TikTok last year.
According to the lawsuits, the ‘blackout challenge’ encouraged users to choke themselves with belts, or anything similar until they passed out. All the children who lost their lives were reportedly under 15 years old.
TikTok is accused of not taking action even though it was aware of the problem.
In a response to The Washington Post, TikTok claimed that it had blocked users from searching for the challenge. The company said that it was instead issuing a warning informing users that “some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing, or even fabricated,” and linking the users to a page to assess more challenges and warnings.
“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.” TikTok spokesperson Mahsau Cullinane said.
TikTok is popular for many challenges originating from the platform. As a result, most users tend to link viral online challenges to the video-making platform. This is not the first time TikTok is getting sued for granting children access to the platform.
In 2019, the company agreed to pay $5.7 million as compensation for allowing users under 13 years old to sign up on the platform. TikTok introduced the Family Pairing mode a year later, allowing parents to link their accounts with their children’s and monitor their activity on the app.
The company has faced lawsuits and fines over the access children have to its platform before. In 2019, it agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that it allowed users under 13 to sign up without a parent’s permission. About a year later, it introduced Family Pairing mode, which lets parents link their accounts to their children’s and control the amount of content they see and how much time they can spend on the app.