TikTok Flamethrower Challenge / Mason Dark Burns
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The Flamethrower Challenge or Lighter Challenge is a purported TikTok trend that involves spraying a can of spray paint into an ignited lighter to create a makeshift flamethrower. The internet challenge went viral in late April 2023 after a North Carolina teen, Mason Dark, reportedly burned nearly 80 percent of his body while attempting it. In early May, Insider reported that they were unable to find evidence of the trend and a TikTok representative denied it existing on their platform.
Mason Dark Burns 80 Percent Of His Body
On April 28th, 2023, WRAL News reported that a 16-year-old boy, Mason Dark, had "nearly 80%" of his body burned after reportedly attempting a rumored TikTok trend that "prompts people to use a lighter and a can of paint spray." According to the report, a "big boom" was heard and Mason ran outside, took off his shirt and jumped in the river to soothe the burns. He suffered third-degree burns. Dark's mother was quoted as saying he was "unrecognizable" after the burns, also telling reporters it was for TikTok, quoted as saying, "I guess kids have been doing this a long time." A GoFundMe page was opened to raise money for Dark, which raised over $49,000 USD in a week. WRAL uploaded a video to YouTube that day about the story, sharing footage of Mason exiting the river after catching on fire (shown below).
The story was reported on by numerous media outlets over the following days, including TMZ and FOX 32. On April 29th, 2023, TikToker @baldnewsnetwork reported on the story, saying the challenge "started on MySpace and Facebook" (shown below).
On May 2nd, Insider reported that they could find no evidence of the trend on the platform and asked a TikTok spokesperson about it, who was quoted as saying, "This is not a 'challenge' on our platform." The spokesperson also says that TikTok puts warnings on potentially dangerous videos and that videos of people doing this have existed on sites like YouTube going back "as far as a decade."
@baldnewsnetwork #teen #tiktok #challenge #sad #foryou ♬ Might+u (My Hero Academia) – Shayne Orok
 WRAL – TikTok challenge leaves Wake Forest teen with burns on nearly 80% of his body
 GoFundMe – Mason Dark – UNC Burn Unit
 TMZ – TIKTOKER'S FLAMETHROWER EXPLODES
 FOX 32 – challenge puts teen in hospital with burns to over 70% of his body
 Insider – Flamethrower 'challenge' blamed for teen's horrific burns does not actually appear to be widespread on TikTok
 TikTok – baldnewsnetwork
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May 02, 2023 at 09:56PM EDT
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