Viral trends and challenges on social media are fun to indulge in but this recent TikTok challenge called the 'Blackout Game' that includes 'choking' is far from fun and cost a girl her life. Following this, Italy has banned the app for certain users in a recent move. The accidental death of a 10-year-old girl who is said to have taken part in the dangerous "blackout challenge" on TikTok has instilled fear in residents as the govt. blocks access to TikTok for users whose age could not be proved definitively. The general terms and conditions for TikTok users include them being at least 13-years-old but apart from that, there are no other restrictions.
As per reports, the girl died in a Palermo hospital after her family rushed her there on discovering her in the family bathroom with her cellphone. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance revealed that it has not been managed to identify "any content on its site that could have encouraged the girl to participate in any such challenge, but was helping the authorities in the probe over possible 'incitement to suicide'."
TikTok spokesman said to the Guardian, "The safety of the TikTok community is our absolute priority, for this motive we do not allow any content that encourages, promotes or glorifies behaviour that could be dangerous." The Italian Data Protection Authority said in a statement later Friday that it would “block the (Chinese) social media network” with immediate effect until 15 February.
TikTok also recently introduced new privacy controls for teenagers (age 13-15) on its platform, saying their accounts will now be more private by default and strangers cant see or comment on their videos. With a private TikTok account, only someone who the user approves as a follower can view their videos.
"We want our younger users to be able to make informed choices about what and with whom they choose to share, which includes whether they want to open their account to public views," said Eric Han, Head of US Safety, TikTok. Despite India ban and an ongoing legal battle in the US, Chinese short-video making app TikTok has become the highest-grossing app globally in 2020 with $540 million in profit.
Recently, a 12-year-old boy from Kota had accidentally choked himself to death allegedly while attempting to shoot and upload his video on mobile app Tik Tok, police said on Friday."Initial probe suggests that boy might have killed himself accidentally while trying to make a video for Tik Tok," police said. The family of the victim said that when they found the boy he was sporting sindoor (vermillion), 'mangalsutra' (a sacred thread worn by Hindu married women) and bangles. He hanged himself from a noose in his bathroom as a part of the TikTok challenge. The Central Govt. of India, last year, banned 59 Chinese mobile apps in India, including TikTok, amid the then ongoing borer tensions with China. Due to the government’s move, the TikTok’s developer ByteDance also lost its profit from the country that would use TikTok a lot. It wasn't the first time when the app was banned in India. Before that year, the app was banned due to child porn controversy and Byte Dance lost over Rs three crore per day.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 23, 2021 06:16 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).