Return of ‘Momo Challenge’ triggers panic, but it’s still a hoax
The once viral ‘Momo Challenge’ has made its way back to the UK causing panic among parents. However, there have been no evidence of the viral internet challenge.
There's an internet challenge called 'Momo Challenge' which ends up with the player having to commit suicide. UK authorities have clarified that the so-called 'momo challenge' is a hoax with no evidence of its existence.
The alleged Momo Challenge isn't a new one and went viral sometime last year on WhatsApp. It was making headlines for quite some time but disappeared shortly after. The internet challenge features a character called 'Momo' with her large eyes popping out. The challenge supposedly involves a series of tasks to be completed eventually leading to a suicide. This challenge is similar to the 'Blue Whale' challenge which reportedly led to some kids committing suicides.
Turns out, the face of 'Momo' is actually taken from "Mother Bird", a sculpture created by Keisuke Aisawa, CNET reported.
The Momo Challenge suddenly surfaced online in the UK with its stories shared by over a thousand times on Facebook, The Guardian reported. Some people also claimed the challenge appeared in Peppa Pig, a popular kid's programme. YouTube however said there's no evidence of such videos appearing on the platform.
We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We've seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.— YouTube (@YouTube) February 27, 2019
Charities in the UK like the Samartitans and NSPCC also refuted claims of this challenge's existence saying that there's no evidence and it is being used to incite fear among kids. The UK's Safer Internet Centre also confirmed that the internet challenge is fake.
David Emm, Principal security researcher at Kasperksy Lab said, "We've seen the Momo 'challenge', which is creating panic and hysteria across the internet, cropping up in different countries for nearly a year now. It is important to remember that this not a genuine cyber threat in terms of infecting or corrupting devices or seeking to steal, however, it is a malicious joke intending to shock and unsettle and, as the craze gathers momentum and media hype increases, more people are going to be tempted to scare their friends or, more worryingly, use the meme to harass and intimidate."
The widespread news of this challenge brought warnings from schools and the police about the risks of self-harm. While there is no evidence of this Momo Challenge, the "fake news" has spread causing fear and tension among kids and adults alike.