What is TikTok’s ‘blackout challenge’? Here’s how it poses threat to kids

Bhubaneswar: Video sharing platform TikTok is facing multiple lawsuits after being sued by parents of kids who have died attempting its ‘blackout challenge.’

Blackout challenge that has been trending on the Chinese short-video sharing platform is an online challenge that encourages users to choke themselves to an extent of losing consciousness and upload the results on TikTok.

As per latest media reports, as many as seven kids, under the age of 15, have died performing the challenge. The deaths were reported in the United States in 2021 from Colorado, Oklahoma and also from Italy.

Blackout challenge is said to have been running since at least 2008, by several names like the ‘Pass Out Challenge’, ‘The Game of Choking’, ‘Speed Dreaming’ or ‘The Fainting Game’.  However, the challenge gained popularity in 2021 after millions of videos of people attempting the challenge surfaced on platforms like YouTube as well. A report by CDC stated that earlier, as many as 80 people had died attempting the challenge online.

On July 6, families of two children sued TikTok following deaths of their kids in 2021.  A report by The Guardian stated that the lawsuit consisted of several complaints against the social media platform. They alleged that the platform’s algorithm promoted harmful content and welcomed under-aged users without warning them or their guardians about the app’s ‘addictive nature’.

In response to the allegations, TikTok first condemned the challenge and then continued saying they could not find any evidence of such content on their platform. The short-video sharing platform said media that they don’t allow any content that promotes or glorifies dangerous behaviour that may lead to injury. Ensuring their team was working to identify any such content and removing it, TikTok further said that they will continue to closely monitor content of such sort for the sake of the community’s safety.

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