Govt Clamps Down on Blue Whale; Asks Google, Facebook to Remove Links
The Blue Whale challenge is reportedly a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the challenge.
New Delhi: Concerned over the rise in suicides by children, the Central government has banned "deadly" online Blue Whale Challenge game, in which the final task requires the player to commit suicide.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued the order to ban this game, which reportedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to the player by administrators during a 50-day period. The ultimate task seeks the player to take the extreme step to complete the challenge.
The Ministry, led by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, has issued instructions to internet platforms, including Google India, Facebook, WhatsApp, Yahoo India, Instagram and Microsoft India, to identify and immediately remove links to Blue Whale Challenge and all other similar games.
"You are hereby required to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or any similar game is immediately removed from your platform," said the order dated August 11.
The order points out that the action on the part of Google, Facebook etc is called for since "the administrator of the game uses a social media platform to invite/incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead the child to extreme steps for self-inflicting injuries, including suicide."
The order also asks the internet platforms to report to police and other law enforcement agencies about the proponent of this game.
"Instances of children committing suicides while playing Blue Whale Challenge game have been reported in India. The Government is concerned about the availability of such games on Internet," stated the Ministry's communication.
Copies of this order have been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Notably, Maneka Gandhi, the Minister for Women and Child Development, recently wrote to her counterpart in the Electronics Ministry to ban the Blue Whale challenge game.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action to stop the spread of the ‘Blue Whale’ game. He said the Union ministries — Information Technology, Information and Broadcasting and Home — should ban the game.
The deadly game that overwhelms children has become a talking point after a 14-year-old boy in Mumbai ended his life recently by jumping off the terrace of a seven-storey building. Similar attempts by some other teens from different part of the country were averted in the nick of time by an intervention of parents and police.
The game is said to have originated in Russia. It was created by 22-year-old Philipp Budeikin, who is currently spending three years in a Siberian jail. The game has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 130 kids around the world.
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