Dubai: A year after the Blue Whale challenge, online users are worried about a new epidemic that has surfaced on the internet: The Momo Challenge. Don’t let the name fool you, the challenge has nothing to do with food.
According to reports, this challenge has been encouraging children to perform dangerous challenges that ultimately lead to committing suicide.
It is allegedly linked to the death of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina.
According to an Indian newspaper, The New Indian Express, the girl recorded a video saying that she committed suicide because of ‘Momo’.
Indian broadcast channel NDTV said in a report: “‘Momo’ is a social media account on WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube, which uses the image of an artwork invoking horror.”
The artwork, called Mother Bird by Link Factory is a picture of a thin, creepy looking woman with bulging eyes, an abnormally large smile and greasy black hair. It is a part of a sculpture created by Midori Hayashi. While only the face is being used to represent the challenge, in the actual sculpture, the head is on the body of a bird-like creature.
Importantly, Momo is a social media account on WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube and is a hoax that tries to steal information for its victims.
On Twitter, people have posted pictures of their text conversations with Momo, while others expressed their desire to try the viral trend. One person even uploaded a video of Momo talking to him, persuading him to kill himself.
What is the challenge?
According to reports, the challenge started when Facebook users were encouraged to interact with an unknown number. Once the contact is established the account then sends a list of challenges that once completed, can help you meet “Momo”. The challenges are supposed to be violent and encourage children to take their own lives.
If a user does not follow the rules, the account threatens them with violent images. Momo encourages the recipient to perform cruel acts and commit suicide. The unknown number calls and uncomfortable noises can be heard in the background.
The challenge is viral in Japan, Columbia and Mexico. While there are no reports of the challenge being in the UAE, there are many warning messages on Facebook and other social media accounts, about it, raising awareness against it. Children between 13 to 19 years of age are being targeted.
This is not the first time such a challenge has surfaced on the internet. The Blue Whale challenge which started last year took many lives and revolved around the idea of completing tasks and ultimately committing suicide. In June 2017, a 21-year-old Russian Philipp Budeikin was arrested for allegedly being the mastermind behind the game. He has been charged with incitement to suicide of at least 16 schoolgirls.
Other dangerous viral challenges include: Cinnamon challenge, Mariam’s Game, Five finger fillet and more.