Tik Tok on trial for the death of two girls

Tik Tok on trial for the death of two girls

In social networks, challenges are those challenges that invite users to carry out a task with varying degrees of difficulty. They had to throw themselves very cold water, eat to unsustainable limits and there is the Black Out Challenge, the Fainting Challenge speaking badly and soon. The challenge is to hold our breath until we pass out. Yes, that rare and dangerous. The problem is that two girls, 8 and 9 years old (Lalani Erika Walton and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo respectively), have died trying to complete this challenge that went viral on the Tik Tok platform. The parents of the girls have initiated the procedures to bring the platform to trial, pointing out that the algorithm of this social network was responsible for what happened.

Many questions arise here. TikTok is one of the most popular apps among young people nationally and globally. The minimum age of use is from 13 years. Why were two girls aged 8 and 9 using these nets? Did they do it with the name of other users? According to the TikTok terms of service “the minimum age to open an account on TikTok is 13 years old. If we identify accounts whose owners are under this age, we will delete them”. Both girls had posted videos on this platform and their accounts were not deleted. Regardless of who gave them permission to use them.

According to the lawsuits, “TikTok’s dangerous algorithm intentionally and repeatedly powered the deadly “Blackout Challenge” on Lalani and Arriani’s TikTok For You page, prompting them to participate in the challenge that ultimately took their lives. TikTok’s flawed design results in an addictive product that it is not safe for users and does not warn minors and their parents that TikTok is addictive and introduces harmful content on its “Page for you” that could endanger their well-being”.

According to statements from both families to The Guardian, the two girls became addicted to Tik Tok and “they believed that if I posted a video doing the Blackout Challenge, they would become famous and decided to give it a try.” Lalani’s parents had noticed injuries to her neck a few months earlier, but the girl said it was an accident. It is not the first time that the social network has faced such criticism: in May Nylah Anderson also died for following this challenge. She was 10 years old.

A common Tik Tok practice is block some of these videos when they are searched for and take the user to a page with the platform’s rules. Can this case go to trial? The complaint was made in the United States. There, according to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Internet companies are protected from any legal responsibility for the content that is published on their platforms. This has allowed social networks to flourish. But the trial is not based on the publication of the video of the challenge, but on a product of the social network, such as the algorithm, which caused minors to see that content very often. The judgment is to a product not to the content. And so it could prosper. But what should really prosper is the recognition that Tik Tok is not for minors. No social network is. and we lack a lot of education about it to understand the consequences.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.