A 10-year-old girl died of suffocation in Palermo (Sicily, southern Italy) while participating in a “headscarf game” challenge on the TikTok social network, media reported on Friday (January 22nd) (link in Italian). Antonella was participating in a “blackout challenge” on TikTok, in the bathroom of the family home. She had put a belt around her neck with the aim of staying breathless as long as possible, while checking in with her cell phone. It was her 5-year-old little sister who discovered her unconscious body on Wednesday evening. Taken immediately to the Palermo Children’s Hospital by her parents, she did not survive.
The Palermo public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for “incitement to suicide”. The child’s cell phone has been seized by investigators, who will need to determine if Antonella was live with other participants, if someone invited her to participate in the challenge or if she was making this video for a friend or knowledge. In response to this tragedy, the platform issued a statement: “The safety of the TikTok community is our top priority, we are available to the appropriate authorities to assist in their investigation.”
The Italian Authority for the Protection of Personal Data said in a statement “block the social network” Chinese users whose age is not guaranteed, with immediate effect and until February 15. The registration of the girl on the network “was not refused by the company” despite the girl’s age, lower than the 13 years minimum provided by TikTok, underlines the independent authority.