The government has asked popular social media sites not to host any dangerous online games such as the Blue Whale challenge that puts the lives of people at risk, Parliament was informed.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that social media sites have been asked to “immediately remove” any such games from their platform, as and when detected. He added that the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a committee to investigate all cases of suicides that were either committed or allegedly attempted and attributed to dangerous online games such as the Blue Whale Challenge.
He said, “It is also understood that there is no formal application, website or URL, available for downloading / accessing online games like Blue Whale challenge. Hence there is little scope for using technical solutions to identify or block the dangerous online games,” he said.
Prasad added that “The Committee findings could not establish any involvement of Blue Whale challenge game in any of incidents reported to them.”
Last year, after a series of suicides linked to the Blue Whale Challenge, Facebook said it was working with suicide prevention partners to collect phrases, hashtags and group names associated with online challenges encouraging self-harm or suicide. In a statement, the social media giant said, “We offer resources to people that search for these terms on Facebook.”
The Blue Whale challenge is believed to psychologically provoke players to indulge in self-destructive tasks for 50 days before finally taking the “winning” step of killing themselves.
With inputs from agencies