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In the case of a New Mexico Boy’s Death, a Lawsuit Has Been Launched Against Tik Tok

According to a recent lawsuit, a 13-year-old Socorro County kid who mimicked “blackout challenge” videos on TikTok killed himself in his family’s toilet in 2020. When family members discovered him, his heartbeat was so weak that he could not be revived.

According to the lawsuit, the child “died by accidentally hanging himself with a belt while attempting to complete the iconic TikTok Blackout Challenge – attempting to choke himself until he passed out.” On August 19, 2020, first responders pronounced the boy deceased at his family’s home in Polvadera.

The lawsuit, filed in Santa Fe’s 1st Judicial District Court, claims TikTok is marketing “a dangerously flawed product to millions of children” and demands unspecified damages. The lawsuit also names TikTok’s parent business, Bytedance Inc., as a defendant.

TikTok, headquartered in Culver City, California, is a massively popular social media app that focuses on short-form video sharing. Since its launch outside of China in 2017, the company has reported more than 3 billion downloads worldwide. TikTok and ByteDance did not reply to calls for comment on Wednesday. Joleen Youngers, a Santa Fe attorney and court-appointed advocate for the deceased kid, filed the complaint. The action did not name the boy or any of his family members.

According to Matthew Bergman, an attorney for the Seattle-based organization Social Media Victims Law Center, the New Mexico complaint is one of six in the United States targeting TikTok as a result of the blackout challenge. TikTok “is especially popular among children,” according to Bergman, who has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three children who died as a result of the blackout challenge in Texas and Wisconsin.

According to him, none of the claims filed against TikTok have yet been heard by a judge or jury. “It’s novel litigation, and the one guarantee is that it’ll be hard contested.” According to the claim, the boy’s phone was discovered in the toilet, and the alarm or timer began to sound as the family was attempting to resuscitate the boy.

New Mexico Boy's Death

“There is no doubt that (his) death was the result of him undertaking a TikTok Blackout Challenge,” the suit claims. “Despite knowing that their product incentivized risky activity, the TikTok defendants failed to provide any warnings or precautions that could have prevented (the boy’s) death,” the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, TikTok viewers are “confronted with an endless stream of curated films” chosen by TikTok’s proprietary algorithm, which promotes TikTok challenges. According to the lawsuit, the challenges push users to record themselves participating in potentially risky actions.

According to Bergman, the blackout challenge motivates users to choke themselves until they are unconscious in order to feel bliss and capture a video to share. “Not only in the United States but around the world, there have been a considerable number of deaths from the TikTok blackout challenge,” he stated.

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