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TikTok indicted for “Blackout Challenge”.

On social media, especially TikTok, which is popular with teens, there are always so-called challenges. Participants are asked to take on fun and daring challenges. Sometimes these are dangerous and even deadly. Challenges are not necessarily dangerous, as there are many more harmless and entertaining variants.

But there are always challenges that you can’t help but be shocked at how anyone would come up with the idea to propose such a thing. Because children and young people cannot necessarily estimate whether and how life-threatening such a challenge can be. So are two girls, ages eight and nine, who died and hanged themselves in the course of the so-called “Blackout Challenge” last year. This was according to a report from the British guardian Popularized on TikTok in 2021, encouraging users to choke until they pass out. Infographic WhatsApp, Instagram & Co: how young people prefer to communicate

“algorithm to blame”

The parents of the two girls have since sued TikTok. They accuse the social network that the platform’s “dangerous algorithm” “deliberately and repeatedly” flushed videos of the challenge into the children’s timeline, encouraging them to participate — with deadly consequences.

“TikTok must be held accountable for distributing deadly content to these two young girls,” said Matthew P. Bergman, founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC), which represents the families of the victims. “TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally create products that distribute dangerous content that the company knows is dangerous and can lead to user deaths.” One of the two victims was Lalani Erika Renee Walton, who was eight years old at the time of death.

She got a smartphone for her birthday and, according to her parents, quickly became dependent on TikTok. She entered the Blackout Challenge because she thought she would become “famous” if she did. The story of the second victim reads the same way.

Should the parents have looked better?

However, the parents will probably have to live with questions. Because of course, they knew that their children use TikTok intensively. However, the minimum age for TikTok is 13 years, and up to 18 years of parental consent is also required. In addition, in the case of eight-year-old Lalani, the parents noticed bruises on her neck before the tragic incident – but they were satisfied with the explanation of another “accident”.