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TikTok Sued in Federal Court After 10-Year-Old Dies Attempting 'Blackout Challenge'

Tawainna Anderson wants to hold TikTok "accountable" after she says her daughter Nylah Anderson died while attempting a "blackout challenge."

By Gina Tron
The app Tiktok opened up on a phone

A Pennsylvania mother is suing TikTok, claiming that her 10-year-old daughter died after imitating a viral challenge on the app.

Nylah Anderson died in December of 2021 after attempting a "blackout challenge," an online, social media challenge in which users appear to choke themselves until they pass out, a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania states, according to CBS News. Nylah was rushed to a hospital, where she was placed in intensive care for a few days; in the end though, she succumbed to her injuries and died.

Nylah Anderson’s mother, Tawainna Anderson filed the lawsuit last week, claiming the child learned of the challenge via TikTok's "'For You' page." 

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 lawsuit states, according to CBS News.

The lawsuit alleges that the platform was already aware of other children who died from the challenge, mentioning 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus, who died in April 2021 in Colorado. His family believes he may have tried to choke himself doing the same challenge, KCNC reports. 

Tawainna Anderson is suing for wrongful death, strict products liability and negligence. She is asking for an undisclosed amount in damages. 

The suit reads that Nylah was "an active, happy, healthy and incredibly intelligent child. Though only 10 years old, Nylah spoke three languages."

The mother told CBS Philadelphia that she wants to hold TikTok “accountable," and says that the app should have taken better precautions. 

The so-called "Blackout Challenge" can be traced back at least as far as the 1990s; a 2008 Centers for Disease Control press release reported that, at that time, 82 young people died as a result of the game.

"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 spokesperson told People last year. "We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found."

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