Blackout Challenge has landed TikTok in a legal issue: Here's everything you need to know about it

An exceedingly dangerous Blackout challenge has landed TikTok under legal scrutiny. It came to light when a 10-year old girl’s death sparked the safety debate surrounding the social media platform.

Also referred to as ‘pass-out challenge’ or ‘choking challenge’, it entices people (especially the teenagers) to temporarily asphyxiate themselves to get high.

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Blackout Challenge encourages the performers to choke themselves until they pass out. And it has claimed seven lives so far.

However, it is not a recent challenge. According to the reports, a similar challenge ‘choking games’ had appeared in 2008. Now, it’s resurfaced in the form of Blackout challenge.

Issues surrounding the Blackout Challenge

Had this Challenge been like the other trends on TikTok, it would’ve been acceptable but the challenge explicitly endorses self-harm and suicide.

The biggest issue is that it majorly targets kids and the fact that it appears in children’s feed is abysmal.

Moreover, people with suicidal tendencies are also prone to follow such challenges as it claims euphoric after-effects.

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One of the youngest victims, Nylah Anderson (10) choked herself to death after the challenge went horribly wrong.

She was found unconscious in her bedroom following which she was rushed to the hospital, where she was declared dead.

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A forensic analysis of her phone showed that she was trying to attempt the blackout challenge and in the process, she lost her life.

Joshua Haileyesus (12), a Colorado boy, also attempted the challenge which left him brain dead.

He strangulated himself using a shoelace and the doctors say that the chances of him getting better seem tragically bleak.

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Other victims include Emmanuel Poteon (a 9-year old), Lalani Erika Renee Walton (an 8-year old) and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo (a 9-year old).

People are strangulating themselves using shoelaces, ropes and even dog leashes. And this is the extent to which the challenge is triggering kids to hop in the challenge.

Legal Issue triggered by the Blackout Challenge

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The fact that the challenge claimed several lives, accountability for the same became probable.

In no time, victim Nylah’s parents sued Tiktok for algorithmically serving harmful content to their 10-year old deceased daughter.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District court, it was alleged that:

Tiktok’s 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 suit also claimed that the appearance of the video on the feed titled ‘how to asphyxiate oneself’, in the first place is inexcusable.

Not only this, a Twitter user also shared a picture stating the awfully higher number of TikTok users aged between 10-19.

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However, Tiktok did not respond immediately to the lawsuit.

But when they did, a Tiktok’s spokesperson said the following:

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. We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found

Needless to say, it’s not the first time Tiktok has found itself surrounded by controversies. Skull breaker challenge and Blue Whale challenge were also equally fatal.

Well it difficult to say whether a trend like Blackout challenge will be the last, until of course platforms like TikTok make significant changes to the way their algorithm works, something which is the need of the hour.

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Rhea Madaan

Weaving a little bit of life into the articles I write. No, not really! That's not really possible for a trash writer like me but I still try. Apart from it, I skate, meditate and medicate. Also keep myself away from troubles as I age.