Social media platform TikTok is being sued after two young girls died while trying to recreate a choking challenge in separate incidents.
The two girls, aged eight and nine, died in the United States while participating in the “blackout challenge”.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Lalani Erika Walton, 8, and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, 9, died after copying the trend in which participants try to choke themselves into unconsciousness.
Walton, from Texas, was found hanging from her bed with a rope around her neck in her bedroom. Police told her stepmother that she was watching blackout challenge videos on repeat before her death.
Arroyo was from Milwaukee and was found hanging from the family dog’s leash in her basement. According to the lawsuit, she was taken to hospital and put on a ventilator, but had lost all brain function and was eventually taken off life support.
The wrongful death lawsuits that were filed on Friday in Los Angels Country Superior Court, further details that the girls were fed videos of the challenge by the app’s algorithm.
A TikTok spokesperson commented on the matter.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found”, adding that the company has blocked the hashtag #BlackoutChallenge from its search engine.
Image credit: BBC