NEW YORK — A Long Island couple is suing the company that owns TikTok, saying videos on the popular social media app glorified the death and led to the death of their son.
Dean and Michelle Nasca claim in the lawsuit that the app has more than 1,000 views promoting death, despair and self-harm on their 16-year-old son Chase’s “For You” page. The couple alleges that they sent TikTok messages to Chase, even though he never asked for any of those terms.
A teen jumping in front of a Long Island Rail Road train in 2022.
“I would love to see these kinds of things stop promoting my son,” said Michelle Nasca.
The lawsuit alleges that TikTok used certain methods to make depressing and violent material that was not intended for children, but was available to them. The platform also made suggestions for videos to be further enhanced according to its programming and algorithm.
The parents said that Chase had no history of anxiety or depression and that he was content for dark reasons at the beginning of October 2021. They started targeting him. take no more”.
TikTok did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit as of Friday afternoon.
The Nasca family and their lawyer headed to Washington DC on Thursday for a congressional hearing on TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
“We are seeking to hold TikTok accountable for engaging in dangerous and harmful practices that put our children at risk of self-harm, all in the name of ‘exploitation’ to increase revenue,” attorney Matthew P. Bergman said before the hearing. “In order to maximize user engagement and increase profits, TikTok creates and co-creates harmful content and deliberately targets children in the United States with violent, dangerous, extreme, and psychologically disturbing content that they cannot take their eyes off.”
Another central question in the hearing was whether TikTok is a national security risk, given the Chinese law that would allow the country to access user data. Both Republicans and Democrats are concerned that China is using the app as an information-gathering tool here in the US.
New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone has joined other lawmakers in questioning TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about alleged ties to a Chinese government tribunal, as well as user data protection.
“In our book, you can only use the data for your own purposes, not sell it to anyone. Do you want to sell it to anyone?
“I’m not asking you about the rules, I’m asking if the company, TikTok, has committed to not selling data to anyone,” Pallone replied. Chew said he would “return to” [Pallone] about the details of that “.
The CEO said the company’s priorities are protecting the user and keeping them safe. Although dozens of states have already banned or restricted TikTok from government devices. The White House gave the company an ultimatum: sell the app or face a full ban in the US.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or contacting the Crisis Text Line by texting “Home” at 741741 at any time.