A couple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is suing TikTok after their 9-year-old daughter died from performing the TikTok challenge known as "Blackout."
Arriani Arroyo died in February after trying the dangerous social media challenge in which people voluntarily chokes themselves until they pass out.
Matt Berman of the Social Media Victims Loss Center is the attorney for the family and another family from Texas who suffered the same fate.
"It’s the contention of the family that TikTok knew, or should’ve known, that its algorithm was leading children down this horrible path and didn't do anything about it because their goal was to maximize user engagement over above having a safe product," said Berman to WDJT-TV.
"They have specifically designed the algorithms to take advantage of the fact that children's brains aren't fully developed and they're highly susceptible to addictive content," Berman added.
TikTok would not comment due to the ongoing litigation, but representatives from the company referred back to a previous statement about the dangerous challenges.
“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," said a spokesperson for the company. "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.”
The parents issued a warning to other parents whose children may be on social media.
"Her parents are asking all parents to remain vigilant about what your children are being exposed to while using social media apps such as TikTok. There are people who use the internet to spread dangerous challenges and trends that anyone at any age can access," they wrote in part on a GoFundMe account.
"These apps start with harmless trends but there is an undercurrent of malice being spread into these apps," they added. "As parents we do everything that we can to protect our children and shelter them from harm, but we must work together as a community and world to ensure that our future generations are safe and secure."
Here's a news report about the lawsuit:
Milwaukee 9-year-old dies attempting 'blackout' challenge | GMA www.youtube.com