TikTok sued after girls die in 'Blackout Challenge'

TikTok sued after girls die in 'Blackout Challenge'

This file photo taken on Feb 9, 2022, shows the logo of video-focused social networking service TikTok, at the TikTok UK office, in London. (Photo: AFP)
This file photo taken on Feb 9, 2022, shows the logo of video-focused social networking service TikTok, at the TikTok UK office, in London. (Photo: AFP)

Video-sharing application TikTok is being sued in California after children died while taking part in a "Blackout Challenge" that makes a sport of choking oneself until passing out.

The lawsuit accuses TikTok software of "intentionally and repeatedly" pushing the Blackout Challenge that led to the deaths of an eight-year-old girl in Texas and a nine-year-old girl in Wisconsin last year.

"TikTok needs to be held accountable for pushing deadly content to these two young girls," said an attorney at the Social Media Victims Law Center, which filed the suit.

"TikTok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design products that push dangerous content that it knows are dangerous and can result in the deaths of its users."

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit alleges that TikTok's algorithm promoted the Blackout Challenge to each of the girls, who died from choking themselves -- one using rope and the other a dog leash, as users are encouraged to hold their breath until they pass out due to a lack of oxygen.

It additionally listed children in Italy, Australia and elsewhere whose deaths have been linked to the TikTok Blackout Challenge.

The app has featured and promoted an array of challenges in which users film themselves taking part in themed acts that are sometimes dangerous.

Among the TikTok challenges described in court documents was the "Skull Breaker Challenge" in which people have their legs kicked out from under them while jumping so they flip and hit their heads.

The "Coronavirus Challenge" involves licking random items and surfaces in public during the pandemic, and the "Fire Challenge" involves setting things on fire, court documents said.

The suit calls for a judge to order TikTok to stop hooking children via its algorithm and promoting dangerous challenges, and to pay unspecified cash damages.

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Vocabulary

  • accountable: responsible for something that has happened - ซึ่งรับผิดชอบ, สามารถอธิบายได้
  • algorithm: a set of rules that must be followed when solving a particular problem - ชุดของคำสั่งที่สร้างไว้ตามขั้นตอน, อัลกอริธึม
  • challenge: an invitation or a suggestion to somebody that they should enter a competition, fight, etc - การท้าทาย
  • choke: to (cause someone to) stop breathing because something is blocking your throat - ทำให้หายใจไม่ออก
  • damages: money that a court awards to a person who sued another person for causing injury to them -
  • intentionally: deliberately; done purposely - อย่างตั้งใจ
  • lawsuit: a claim or complaint against somebody that a person or an organisation can make in court - คดีความ, คดีในศาล
  • leash: a rope or chord that goes around a dogs neck and held by a person to control the dog - เชือกจูงสุนัข, สายรั้ง
  • lick: to move your tongue across something, especially in order to eat it, clean it, or make it wet - เลีย
  • skull : the bones of the head - กระโหลกศีรษะ
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