TikTok is being sued by the families of two teenagers who died last year while attempting the viral “Blackout Challenge.” According to Arriani Jaileen Arroyo’s family, she died of suffocation on February 26, 2021, after attempting the viral challenge in which participants strangle themselves senseless until they pass out on social media. At the time, she was nine.
According to Good Morning America, her parents, Heriberto Arroyo Roman and Christal Arroyo Roman have since sued TikTok, alleging that “at all times relevant, TikTok’s algorithm was designed to promote ‘TikTok Challenges’ to young users in order to increase their engagement and maximize TikTok’s profits. The challenge “far predates our platform and has never been a TikTok fad,” TikTok has previously stated.
To wake up each day and know that your daughter will never return, Arroyo’s mother told GMA Thursday. TikTok’s platform has “never allowed us to think that there was a darker side to what it permits.” She characterized Arriani as well-educated, well-dressed, and kind and recalled that some of her late daughter’s favorite pastimes included painting nails and dancing. More than $5,000 has been raised for Arriani’s funeral expenses through a GoFundMe campaign that her family established last year.
“Beyond her years, this lovely young lady displayed wisdom and intelligence unmatched by her peers. Her future looked incredibly promising. In a statement, her family said, “We can’t even begin to imagine the number of lives she touched with her enthusiasm, energy, and captivating personality.” Her father discovered Arriani’s journal after her death and discovered that the kid had written: “about how happy she was.”
TikTok’s GoFundMe begs other parents to keep an eye on their children’s use of social media apps like this one, advising them to “stay alert.” The complaint was also joined by Lalani Walton’s parents and the Social Media Victims Law Cent. When Lalani attempted the challenge in July last year, she died from strangling and asphyxia.
When Lalani died, her family said in her obituary that she was a superb vocalist, had an outgoing attitude, and had the most beautiful eyes. “She relished the opportunity to spend time with her loved ones. She dressed as a princess and putting her make-up. Aside from LOL dolls, she adored the hue of pink.”
It’s Heriberto Ariana’s goal that their legal action will prevent other families from going through what he and his family have been through. He added. “We don’t want any other children out there to be a statistic of this situation again,” he said. In order to save additional children, “we want to make sure that we can.” The families and the Law Center claim in court records obtained by The Los Angeles Times that Arriani “gradually got obsessed” with TikTok.
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Arriani’s brother Edwardo informed their father in February 2021 that she had ceased to move. She was “hanging from the family’s dog leash,” which Heriberto discovered when he went to check on her. After being put on a ventilator and becoming brain-dead, she subsequently died at a local hospital. In July of the following year, Lalani’s family claimed in a lawsuit that Tiktok’s algorithm caused her to see the “Blackout Challenge” on the platform, according to the Times.
During a 20-hour car trip with her family, she watched footage of the challenge. As soon as Lalani’s stepmother returned to the house, she discovered her “hung from her bed with a rope around her neck.” It’s been revealed in court documents that Lalani’s phone was searched by police, and they discovered she had seen videos of the challenge “on repeat” and was “under the impression” she would become famous by posting a video of herself accomplishing it, per the filing.
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In a statement to the Washington Post in May, a TikTok official stated that the deadly challenge was never a trend on the platform. People seem to learn about the alarming ‘challenge’ from sources other than TikTok. It predates our platform and has never been a TikTok trend,” the spokesman stated at the time, adding, “We remain diligent in our commitment to user safety and would promptly remove similar content if detected.”
In addition, TikTok has disabled hashtag searches for the #BlackoutChallenge.