‘Suicide challenge’ game targets teens across social media

Avatar By Le Williams | 1 year ago

A suicide game termed “Momo” is spreading on social media, prompting police in multiple countries to issue warnings about it. Argentina’s law enforcement investigates whether “Momo” is connected to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl, according to the Buenos Aires Times.

According to the Computer Crime Investigation Unit in the Mexican state of Tabasco, the game started on Facebook where members were “challenged” to communicate with an unknown number.

The “Momo” challenge asks people to add a contact via WhatsApp. They are then urged to hurt themselves or commit suicide.

It has been compared to the “Blue Whale challenge” that led to reports of suicides in Russia and the U.S., including a teenager in San Antonio.

The avatar for “Momo” is the image of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes from the work of Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, who is not associated with the game. The game uses the avatar as its main character.

“Don’t add ‘Momo’!” warned Spain’s Guardia Civil in a tweet.

Would be “players” are encouraged to add to their contacts one of several numbers associated with the game.

The game “controller” then sends violent images to the person over the messaging app, claims to know personal things about the “player,” and threatens the player if they don’t follow “orders.”

Players are often asked to kill themselves or post images and videos showing themselves committing suicide.

BBC News Portuguese language site’s Rodrigo Nejm of Brazil’s NGO Safernet said it’s unclear how widespread the game is but claimed it was most likely a form of “bait” used by criminals to steal data and extort people on the internet.