- A viral meme is circulating online as parents warn it’s encouraging children to harm themselves.
- The so-called “Momo Challenge” has been highlighted by celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Kehlani.
- The challenge first surfaced in 2018, when a 12-year-old Argentinian girl’s suicide was linked to the internet meme, though the link has not been confirmed by authorities.
- Recently, people have claimed that the character is popping up in YouTube videos. YouTube said it doesn’t have any evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on its platform.
A creepy meme based on a Japanese statue has been spreading panic online over fears that it’s promoting child suicide.
People have said on social media that the character of Momo – based off of a statue called “Mother Bird” designed by a Japanese special effects company, Link Factory – has appeared on Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, though there is no strong evidence of such appearances.
The challenge first hit headlines in mid-2018, when a 12-year-old Argentinian girl’s suicide was linked to the internet meme. The link has not been confirmed by authorities.
At the time, police in Spain, South America, and Central America issued warnings for children to avoid talking to strangers and said they would investigate the Momo Challenge.
In 2018, INSIDER attempted to contact several numbers that were associated with Momo on WhatsApp – none responded.
Recently, people have claimed that the character is popping up in YouTube videos, instructing children to kill themselves and keep the clips secret from parents.
YouTube said it doesn’t have any evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on its platform.
“Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are clearly against our policies, the Momo challenge included,” YouTube said in a statement. “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.”
YouTube said that videos discussing and educating people about Momo are allowed, but thumbnail images featuring the character are not allowed on the YouTube Kids app.
There are no confirmed cases of the Momo Challenge in the US or UK, but police are taking the opportunity to warn parents to be conscious of what their children are watching.
ReignBot, a YouTuber known for investigating things on the Internet, said Momo is likely just an urban legend.
“People are claiming what Momo is and what Momo does, but not that many people have actually interacted with the account,” she said. “Finding screenshots of interactions with Momo is nearly impossible and you’d think there’d be more for such a supposedly widespread thing.”
“Our advice as always, is to supervise the games your kids play and be extremely mindful of the videos they are watching on YouTube,” the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) wrote on Facebook. “Ensure that the devices they have access to are restricted to age suitable content.”
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