Mother Sues TikTok After 10-Year-Old Daughter Dies: ‘It Is Time These Dangerous Challenges Come To An End’
By Movieguide® Staff
Warning: This article contains some graphic descriptions.
Tawainna Anderson recently sued the social media giant TikTok over the death of her 10-year-old daughter, Nylah.
After watching TikTok, which boasts over 1 billion users, Nylah imitated a “Blackout Challenge,” going viral on the app.
According to the lawsuit, Nylah hung herself in her mother’s closet, mimicking the videos on TikTok. Although Anderson performed CPR and got her daughter to the hospital, Nylah died five days later.
“I cannot stop replaying that day in my head,” Anderson said at a recent news conference.
She added: “It is time that these dangerous challenges come to an end so that other families don’t experience the heartbreak we live every day.”
Anderson filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania and claimed that TikTok and its parent company ByteDance’s app is “predatory and manipulative.”
“TikTok is programming children for the sake of corporate profits and promoting addiction,” the suit reads.
“You never know what you might find … or the things [they’re] trying that you think that 10-year-olds wouldn’t try,” Anderson said. “They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know no better.”
TikTok claims that the “Blackout Challenge” predates their app.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found,” a spokesperson told The Washington Post in an email. The company also blocked access to the #BlackoutChallenge.
Anderson is not alone. The lawsuit cited several other deaths that they allege happened due to the same challenge: a 14-year-old Australian boy, a 10-year-old Italian girl, a 12-year-old Colorado boy, and a 12-year-old Oklahoma boy.
The lawsuit adds that TikTok’s algorithm “maximize[s] user engagement and dependence and powerfully encourage[s] children to engage in a repetitive and dopamine-driven feedback loop by watching, sharing, and attempting viral challenges and other videos.”
This is not the first time TikTok has come under fire for horrific videos.
Earlier this year TikTok faced allegations of promoting sexual abuse material. Movieguide® previously reported:
Two former TikTok moderators are suing the video sharing app after claiming they experienced emotional trauma after seeing “highly toxic and extremely disturbing” videos every day.
TikTok moderators review videos posted on the app and determine if they break any of the site’s content rules and guidelines.
“We would see death and graphic, graphic pornography. I would see nude underage children every day,” Ashley Velez said. “I would see people get shot in the face, and another video of a kid getting beaten made me cry for two hours straight.”
Velez and another moderator, Reece Young, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking class action status against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.
“You see TikTok challenges, and things that seem fun and light, but most don’t know about this other dark side of TikTok that these folks are helping the rest of us never see,” said lawyer Steve Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which filed the case.
According to the suit, Young and Velez were in an unsafe work environment because TikTok did not provide the proper mental health treatment to deal with the anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress they experienced after watching such disturbing content.
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