TikTok temporarily banned in Italy following death of young girl

by Joseph K. Clark

TikTok has been temporarily banned in Italy following the death of a young girl. A 10-year-old girl was found unconscious and declared dead in a Palermo hospital after asphyxiating herself trying to participate in a ‘blackout challenge’. A 10-year-old Italian girl from ANSA was declared brain dead by a Palermo hospital Thursday after taking the Blackout Challenge on TikTok. Her parents have OK’d donating the organs of the girl, who tied a belt around her throat to self-asphyxiate in the challenge on the popular social media platform. Following the incident, The Guardian reports that TikTok is assisting prosecutors with an investigation into the death and that the app has temporarily been blocked in the country:

TikTok temporarily banned

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said on Friday it had not 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”.

“The safety of the TikTok community is our absolute priority; for this motive, we do not allow any content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies behavior that could be dangerous,” a TikTok spokesman said.

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. By that date, the network would have to meet the regulator’s demands.

According to the girl’s parents, they had no idea she was trying to take part in “the blackout game” and that they only knew she used TikTok for dances and to look at videos. The death has prompted an outcry in Italy for greater regulation of social media platforms.

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