‘Momo Challenge’: Stop spreading the fake news

Please stop sharing without fact-checking.

It’s like spreading chain letters. We may mean well and think it’s better to be safe than sorry, but we unwittingly become part of the problem by making things like the so-called “Momo Challenge” hoax go viral.

Please read this Forbes article. Here’s an excerpt:

“Carmel Glassbrook, manager of Professionals Online Safety Helpline, told me they have received calls on the topic of Momo, from schools and local authorities and police. ‘The main problem’, she said, ‘was not the phenomenon itself but that professionals and parents were sharing Facebook posts about Momo without checking on its validity. It has become a viral topic, founded more on scaremongering headlines than well-researched facts.’”

You can also get more information from Parent Zone.

“The Momo character — the disfigured face attached to a bird’s body — was, in fact, a prop named ‘Mother Bird’ made in Japan three years ago for an art exhibition. Its sinister stretched features make for a disturbing image that could easily upset or worry a younger child. The Momo challenge is allegedly ‘played’ over WhatsApp. The Momo character asks would-be participants to contact ‘her’ and do a series of challenges — the final challenge being suicide. Of course, the evidence for this behaviour happening is limited — there isn’t much evidence of a child actually being harmed and what seems to be happening is that the image is spreading because people are using the image in their profiles.”

YouTube has also issued a statement.

“Many of you have shared your concerns with us over the past few days about the Momo Challenge–we’ve been paying close attention to these reports. After much review, we’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are clearly against our policies, the Momo challenge included. Despite press reports of this challenge surfacing, we haven’t had any recent links flagged or shared with us from YouTube that violate our Community Guidelines.”

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