Social media sites are cracking down on users doing a 'George Floyd Challenge' where they put a knee on a friend's neck

John Minchillo/APA protester kneels at the memorial for George Floyd at the site of his arrest in Minneapolis on June 1, 2020.
  • A shocking new challenge has been circulating on social media, in which users appear to mock George Floyd’s death by kneeling on their friends’ necks.
  • Social media websites are taking a stance against the trend, with Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok all blocking posts under the #GeorgeFloydChallenge hashtag.
  • In the UK, three teens in Northumbria and a 26-year-old man in Fife, Scotland, have been arrested for taking part in the challenge.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A concerning new challenge media appearing to mock the death of George Floyd is making the rounds on social media.

Floyd died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while taking him into custody for allegedly trying to pass a fake $US20 bill.

During the eight-plus minutes he lay on the ground, Floyd complained multiple times that he couldn’t breathe. The four officers involved have since been charged in connection to the incident.

In response to Floyd’s death, some people started posting pictures of themselves kneeling on a friend’s neck, saying it was part of the “George Floyd Challenge.”

Those posts have garnered widespread criticism, and social platforms are taking a stance against the trend.

Facebook and Instagram appear to have banned the hashtag, though it remains on TikTok, with many of the top posts criticising the trend.

However, collages of some of the posts are still available to view on Instagram under variations of the hashtag, like #georgefloydchallengeisdisgusting.

Screenshots of the images are also being shared widely on Twitter and Facebook. Some of the posts appear to have originated on Snapchat.

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

A Twitter spokesperson said “George Floyd challenge” posts violate the platform’s rules on self-harm and abusive behaviour.

“We’re taking action tweets encouraging or promoting this as well as tweets that condone or justify this behaviour,” they said.

However, they said they are leaving up posts that denounce the challenge, with an added “sensitive media warning on any related images.”

A Facebook spokesperson explained to the New York Post that the posts were removed on their site for “violating our Community Standards” because they were “encouraging participation in a high-risk viral challenge.”

George floyd protestStephen Maturen/Getty ImagesProtesters outside the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct on May 27, 2020.

Participating in the trend has led to at least three people being arrested in the UK.

Two males, aged 18 and 19, were arrested by Northumbria Police in northern England after their George Floyd challenge picture circulated on Facebook and Twitter, The Tab reported.

They were arrested on suspicion of causing anxiety and distress, and the incident is being treated as a hate crime, the news site reported. Both suspects have since been released on bail.

A 26-year-old man in Fife, Scotland, was also arrested after participating in the challenge, according to The Courier.

A police spokesman told the outlet in a statement: “Officers in Fife have arrested a 26-year-old man in connection with an image relating to the death in the United States of George Floyd which has been circulating on social media. Enquiries into the incident, which was reported to Police Scotland on Tuesday June 2, 2020, are ongoing.”

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