(WTNH) — A new online “challenge” within WhatsApp, a popular messaging platform owned by Facebook, is targeting teens and encouraging them to participate in a suicide challenge.
The WhatsApp profile of Momo – which is a disturbing character created by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi who is not associated with the game – sends chat messages as well as violent photos to “players” who engage with the profile. Users who do not follow the “orders” given by the manipulative Momo account are threatened by releasing photos, videos or other personal information.
Fictional online characters stemming from urban legends, like Slender Man which allegedly pressured two 12-year-old girls to kill another in May of 2014, as well as the Blue Whale Challenge which gives a series of 50 tasks to “players” marking the final challenge with self-harm, have been preying on children and teens across the internet.
The administrator of the Momo account has yet to be identified.
Mexican authorities have caught on to the trend and have issued warnings for children and parents about Momo.
If you or someone you know is harming themselves or attempting suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255