The frightening online game ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, which urges players to do self-harming challenges resulting in suicide has alarmed authorities finally to deal with this. To stop this fatal game, the government has directed internet companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft to immediately remove the game.
According to various reports, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sent a letter to Google India, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft India and Yahoo India, and instructed that:
“It is understood that an administrator of the game uses social media platforms to invite/incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead the child to take extreme steps for self-inflicting injuries, including suicide. … You are hereby required to ensure that any such link of this deadly game [sic] in its own name or any similar game [sic] is immediately removed from your platform,” the letter dated August 11, added.
Medianama has contacted the ministry, and is awaiting for the confirmation to validate the reports.
The Blue Whale game, created by a former convict in Russia, first came to light in India when a 14-year-old boy jumped off the fifth floor of a building in Mumbai earlier this month. The game psychologically stimulates the players to indulge in daring, self-destructive tasks for 50 days before finally taking the ‘winning’ step of killing themselves, and each task must be filmed and shared as proof.
Reports suggests that the game has led to more than 100 such suicides worldwide.
How Facebook tackled social media suicides
Before the deadly game, Facebook livestream revealed its dark side as since Facebook made live streaming possible for all the users, countless incidents of suicides being live streamed came to limelight. To deal with this, Facebook shifted the policing to users. In case of videos, in March, it added added tools to live videos to prevent suicides, including enabling users watching a live video to reach out to the person directly, report the video to Facebook and the ability to contact a help line immediately.
IMPORTANT: If any know anyone who might be contemplating suicide, please share details of the following suicide helplines: link.