Parents of two girls are suing TikTok after claiming that their daughters died as a result of participating in the “eclipse challenge” they saw while using the 2021 application.
The challenge is one where Internet users “suffocate themselves to get a massive headache,” according to Internet meme website Know Your Meme.
The website mentions the death of a 10-year-old Italian girl after she fastened a belt around her neck in January 2021 as a contributing factor to the spread of the challenge last year.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Supreme Court last week refers to the deaths of an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old on an application described as “addictive” and helps “lead children to harmful content.” The New York Times reported.
TikTok said in a statement to People last year that the challenge is “long before” the application and was “never” a trend on the platform.
“We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and will remove related content as soon as it is found,” a spokeswoman said after a 10-year-old girl died after trying to meet the challenge.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family for their tragic loss.”
In his statement, TikTok also linked to a federal report on a “choking game” that led to a number of “unintentional strangulation deaths” in children between 1995 and 2007.
Know Your Meme cites examples before TikTok that show challenges similar to the Blackout Challenge such as the “choking game.”
The challenge is one of a number of trends that critics have viewed as dangerous in recent years, including the “Milk Crate Challenge” and the “Tide Pod Challenge.”
Zach Sweat, Know Your Meme’s managing editor, told The New York Times that he did not know if challenges were “any more dangerous” than they used to be.
“I think the accessibility of these types of things and the way these algorithms work is broadcasting it to more people,” Sweat said.