Worse Than the Blue Whale!
Internet and social media trends have proven to be dangerous at times. The Kylie Lip Challenge, The Condom Challenge, The Duct Tape Challenge and The Cinnamon Challenge to name just a few. Well, it appears there is now a new challenge to hit the web and it is possibly one of the most dangerous. Say hello, or is it more appropriate to say “goodbye” to the Momo Sucicide Challenge.”
Wikipedia describes the Momo Challenge as “…a form of cyberbullying that spreads through social media and cell phones. After phone users are enticed to contact a Momo account through social media network WhatsApp, they receive graphic threats and are instructed to perform a series of dangerous tasks. The scheme may include hacking the phone. Despite claims that the phenomenon is reaching worldwide proportions, the number of actual complaints are relatively small and no police force has confirmed anyone was actually harmed.”
That was until last week when a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy took their own lives, within just 48 hours of each other, according to local radio outlet Caracol. According to the Daily Mail, the deaths happened in the municipality of Barbosa, in the north west part of the Colombian area of Santander.
RCN Radio, reported the teen boy likely knew the younger girl and passed the game to her, before killing himself. Only 48 hours later, the 12-year-old girl was found hanged.
The "Momo Challenge" relies on threats to get people to perform tasks. Targeting teenagers, "Momo" relies on WhatsApp messages to convince potential "players" to use their mobile phone to contact one of several "Momo account" phone numbers. Whoever has set up the account then repeatedly threatens the user to make personal information public (doxing), or inflict harm on family members, unless a succession of tasks is performed. Some people are threatened with supernatural harm such as magical curses. The threats and subsequent communications are often accompanied by disturbing, scary or gory pictures.
Because of the Challenge's disturbing threats, it has been compared to the Blue Whale challenge, a similar game where participants were made to harm themselves and commit suicide. WhatsApp is encouraging its users to block phone numbers related to the Momo Challenge and to report them to the company.
The Santander police confiscated the deceased children's phones, which were reported to have messages linking them to the Momo suicide game.
"Apparently, they practiced this game through WhatsApp and it invited the young people to hurt themselves," government secretary Janier Landono said. "The game has different challenges and the suicide is at the end."
The vile “Momo suicide game” has been garnering attention after it began spreading on WhatsApp, prompting police warnings. If players fail to complete the challenges in the game, they receive threatening messages from an avatar dubbed Momo, a bird-like woman with eyes protruding out of her head, who says the user will be cursed with an "evil spell."
In July, the Momo Suicide Challenge hacked its way into the extremely popular "Minecraft" video game, which prompted Microsoft to clamp down on it.