Illustration from TikTok.



It's a first.

Italy announced on Friday that it had temporarily blocked access to TikTok for users whose age is not guaranteed, an emergency measure taken after the death of a girl who participated in the "headscarf game" on the social network .

The Authority for the protection of personal data said in a press release "block the Chinese social network" with immediate effect and until February 15, when it must have responded to its injunctions.

Until then, it is prohibited from using "the data of users whose age has not been established with absolute security", detailed the independent authority.

This measure should in principle make it impossible to create an account if a user does not provide proof of his age.

His registration on TikTok "was not refused" despite his young age

This decision comes a few hours after the news of the death in Palermo, in Sicily (south), of a girl, suffocated while she participated in a challenge to the "headscarf game" while filming with her mobile phone on TikTok .

Antonella, 10, had locked herself in the bathroom of the family home on Wednesday to participate in a "blackout challenge" on the platform, while registering with her cell phone.

Its registration on the network, which is very popular among adolescents, "has not been refused by the company" despite its young age, "less than the 13 years minimum provided for by the platform", underlines the Protection Authority today. Datas.

An investigation for "incitement to suicide"

The Palermo prosecutor's office said it had opened an investigation for "incitement to suicide".

The girl'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 family member. knowledge.

The parents told the daily

La Repubblica

that it was Antonella's nine-year-old sister who explained to them what had happened: "Antonella was playing the game of asphyxiation".

“We didn't know,” the girl's father told the newspaper, “we didn't know she was in this game. I knew Antonella was going to TikTok for choreography, to see videos.

But how could I imagine this atrocity?


In reaction to this tragedy, the platform launched in 2016, which claims 100 million users in Europe, issued a statement: “The safety of the TikTok community is our top priority, we are at the disposal of the competent authorities to collaborate on their investigation ”.

Calls for the regulation of social networks

The Italian Data Protection Authority had already launched proceedings against TikTok in December 2019. It criticizes it in particular for its "lack of attention to the protection of minors, the ease of circumventing the ban on registering for the little ones and the lack of transparency and clarity of the information given to users as well as the predefined settings which do not respect privacy ”.

The death of little Palermitan woman has sparked strong reactions in Italy, and calls for the regulation of social networks.

“Networks cannot become a jungle where everything is allowed, including what the law prohibits in the real world,” said the president of the parliamentary committee responsible for child protection, Licia Ronzulli.


Headscarf games: a dangerous practice widespread among children

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"Blue Whale" the morbid game of social networks that pushes teens to suicide

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