Tiktok, Jeffrey Goodman, Santa Clara University Law School discussed on Bloomberg Law


To hold this company accountable It's time that these dangers challenges come to an end that other families don't experience the heartbreak We live every day To want to Anderson says her ten year old daughter nyla died after participating in the online blackout challenge in which people choke themselves until they pass out Anderson blames TikTok and her family is suing the social media platform Her attorney Jeffrey Goodman says TikTok's algorithm targeted nyla Our lawsuit is not about simply somebody posting the video It's about the actions that TikTok took to send the video to nyla My guest is Eric Goldman a professor at Santa Clara university law school and co director of the high-tech law institute Start by telling us a little about this lawsuit So the lawsuit involves really tragic situation One that's been replicated over and over again where minor sees something on online video site and then tries to replicate it and suffers some kind of serious harm In this case the death of the child The mom is not suing the people who posted the challenge but she's suing the social media platform the challenge was on Is that unusual Right so the lawsuit then seats to treat the video services as if they're providing dangerous content or harmful content in a way that can be legally restricted And this has become pretty common in Internet law today to try to treat Internet services as if there are dangerous products that they murder people like smoking kills smokers And those legal theories are being tested in the court rate now but we're seeing them quite frequently nowadays The suit alleges that TikTok's algorithm determined that this deadly blackout challenge was likely to be of interest to the ten year old girl So does the suit depend on proving this algorithm did that Well to be clear TikTok didn't have some kind of magician at the back end saying I think that this is the kind of content that this particular viewer is most likely to respond to It's all done by algorithm So there's a bunch of formulas that set up what content might be appropriate or not for the audience but they're never going to be perfect And they're always going to make assumptions about the people that they're exposing to Now one of the questions underlying this lawsuit is whether or not the video actually caused the death And this is a complicated question in legal circles because there's a lot of things that contributed to the ultimate death And we have to then establish that the video is the basis of the death And that TikTok then could have done something to prevent that from occurring And so there's a bunch of legal questions embedded in this assertion that the algorithms cause the death We have to really take a look at that from a legal standpoint And it's not clear what the answers will be Not to be callous about this and the death is so tragic but isn't the role of the parents to moderate how their children use social media and to keep kids off TikTok if it's dangerous There's no doubt that parents have a role in supervising their children's Internet usage And as a parent I had the dilemmas when my kids came to me and said could I install this social media app There are times I said no because I didn't think it was appropriate for children But there's a lot of things that parents can't do and ideally parents can trust that the environments that their kids are growing up in are free from unreasonably hazardous dangers And so the argument here is that TikTok is one of those unreasonably hazardous dangers that shouldn't be available to children even if the parents are doing everything they can So let's discuss some defenses by TikTok TikTok says that this challenge has been around before the app was started has not been a TikTok trend and people seem to learn it from other sources Other than TikTok are those good arguments They get to the causation topic that we were discussing earlier There's a lot of ways in which kids encourage each other to do really dangerous things And that kids emulate wide range of media depictions that they see and we can't hold all of those legally responsible So the fact that there might be other channels for the information to reach the child is actually a potential defense if it undermines the causation question that parents will have to show But otherwise the fact that the child could have gone the information from somewhere else doesn't really act as a defense if in fact the child got the information from TikTok What about the fact that apparently this was a craze so a lot of kids did this Well I think that gets back to this question about is TikTok unreasonably hazardous This is unreasonably dangerous And as we know there's lots of videos on TikTok that don't hurt anybody And in fact might make people better And so it's a little awkward to say that TikTok is part of the problem because they have this wide range of videos anywhere from things that make our lives better to things that put us at great risk And we kind of.

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