A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the social media company TikTok by the parents of a 10-year-old girl who died after watching harmful videos on the app.
The girl performed the “blackout challenge,” which encourages children to choke themselves until they lose consciousness.
Her parents filed a lawsuit claiming that TikTok and its parent company ByteDance were responsible for her death because TikTok’s algorithm recommended the blackout challenge on her “For You” page.
The lawsuit claims that TikTok should not have determined that the deadly “blackout challenge” was appropriate content for a 10-year-old user. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that TikTok is designed to encourage reckless behavior and addictive use of social media among teenagers.
TikTok encourages “a repetitive and dopamine-driven feedback loop by watching, sharing and attempting viral challenge,” the lawsuit states.
Until now, TikTok and other social media companies have enjoyed broad immunity from wrongful death lawsuits under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
However, the lawsuit claims that TikTok is not immune because her death was the result of direct negligence on the part of TiTok, and not as a publisher of third-party content.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania — Tawainna Anderson v. TikTok Inc. et al. — Case Number 2:22-cv-01849.