A lawsuit has been filed against the TikTok platform in California as a result of the deaths of two girls who participated in a challenge that encouraged the user to suffocate himself until he passed out.
The lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court last week accuses the TikTok algorithm of “intentionally and repeatedly” publishing videos of the challenge that last year led to the deaths of an eight-year-old girl in Texas and another in Wisconsin in her ninth year.
Matthew Bergman, an attorney at the Social Media Victims Law Center who filed the lawsuit against TikTok, said the platform “should be held responsible for publishing content that contributed to the deaths of these two young girls.”
And he added, “Tik Tok has invested billions of dollars to intentionally design programs that promote dangerous content that is aware of its danger and the possibility of causing the death of users of the platform.”
According to the lawsuit, the “Tik Tok” algorithm promoted video clips of the challenge for each of the two girls who died after suffocating themselves, as one of them used a rope while the other adopted a dog collar.
A number of child deaths were reported in Italy, Australia and other countries that were considered to be associated with the same challenge.
Tik Tok publishes and promotes a set of challenges, and these challenges are based on depicting users themselves carrying out certain work that sometimes involves a great deal of risk. The lawsuit asked the judge to order TikTok to stop linking children to its algorithm and promoting dangerous challenges, in addition to paying it unspecified damages.