Has a “Blackout Challenge” Ever Led to an Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
If you have a child, there’s a good chance that your child is on a social media site, and that means there’s a chance that your child is being exposed to something he or she shouldn’t be exposed to. If your child hurts him or herself after seeing something on a website or social media site, can you sue the site for damages?
This is exactly what is happening to TikTok after another one of its challenges has led to death.
TikTok is no stranger to so-called “challenges,” which challenge users to engage in specific actions. Of course, it isn’t TikTok itself that encourages anybody to do anything, it is TikTok’s users.
Some of those user challenges are harmless; some of them are even helpful or charitable. But sometimes, they are dangerous, such as encouraging people to walk on teetering milk crates or suggesting people should ingest poisonous Tide Pods.
The Blackout Challenge
A recent challenge suggested that users should choke themselves until they black out, film it, and post it. As you can imagine, this is highly dangerous, and did in fact end up in death. Young girls ended up killing themselves in an effort to play along with this TikTok challenge.
As a result, the parents sued TikTok. The parents allege that TikTok knew of the challenge, knew it was dangerous, and failed to do anything about it. They also allege that TikTok purposely put the challenge in the girl’s social media feed, especially targeting them, despite their age.
The parents say that TikTok could screen users for age, and keep inappropriate content from underage users, but it does not, as doing so would impact advertising revenue.
TikTok countered by saying that these kinds of challenges have gone on long before TikTok, and that TikTok itself doesn’t condone what users put on their social media pages. Ultimately, TikTok will likely say it is parents, and not the TikTok platform, that is responsible for how teenagers use the site.
Sites Can Be Liable for Content
The lawsuit is recent, and we don’t know how it will end, but there is a lesson here: a website is generally not liable for a single post or message, or isolated content that kids are exposed to.
However, when a site has knowledge of danger, or has the ability to shield minors from dangerous content, and fails to do so, the company may be liable for injuries that kids sustain because of what they see on a site.
A site cannot simply blame its users, or their parents, for repeated ignorance of dangerous content being put on its site, and despite having knowledge that underage users are accessing that information through their own social media platform
Call the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Rosen Injury Law today for help if a loved one has been hurt for any reason, and you feel someone else may be responsible.