Mother Sues TikTok After 10-Year-Old Daughter Dies Attempting 'Blackout Challenge'

·2 min read

Tawainna Anderson is demanding that TikTok be held “accountable” over the death of her daughter, Nylah Anderson.

Tawainna filed a lawsuit against the massive company accusing TikTok of introducing Nylah to the infamous “Blackout Challenge,” which ultimately resulted in her death.

Nylah learned of the Blackout Challenge — which involves people choking themselves to the point of unconsciousness — from TikTok, and she eventually decided to try it out for herself.

The tragedy went occurred on Dec. 7, as Blavity previously reported. Harrowingly, Tawainna discovered her 10-year-old in her bedroom closet, hanging from a purse strap. Nylah was immediately rushed to a hospital, where she was in intensive care until her death on Dec. 12.

“You never know what you might find on their phones. You wouldn’t think 10-year-old would try this. They’re trying because they’re kids and they don’t know better,” Tawainna said shortly after the tragedy. “This is a pain that won’t go away. It’s at the top of my throat. I am so hurt.”

“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,” a TikTok spokesperson noted. “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.”

Now, the Pennsylvania mother is taking legal action against the popular app. She feels that TikTok should be held responsible for the tragedy, as she believes its algorithm introduced the dangerous subject matter to her daughter.

“The TikTok Defendants’ algorithm determined that the deadly Blackout Challenge was well-tailored and likely to be of interest to 10-year-old Nylah Anderson, and she died as a result,” the complaint alleges. “The TikTok Defendants’ app and algorithm are intentionally designed to maximize user engagement and dependence and powerfully encourage children to engage in a repetitive and dopamine-driven feedback loop by watching, sharing, and attempting viral challenges and other videos.”

The complaint goes on to point out that Nylah isn’t the first child to die as a result of the Blackout Challenge, as others like 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus and 9-year-old LaTerius Smith Jr. also lost their lives while attempting the challenge.

Tawainna is suing TikTok for wrongful death, strict products liability, and negligence. It’s unclear exactly how much financial compensation she’s seeking.