Remember “Blue Whale”? Almost five years ago, when I was getting to the bottom of that murky hoax, it wasn’t yet understood as one. It was being called a “suicide game,” and those two words were scaring parents around the world, literally. I was looking all over the Web for reliable sources and found my best one – still one of the world’s top experts on the subject, I believe – to be Georgi … [Read more...] about 9 things that make viral hoaxes challenging
I hardly need to weigh in because I already did – in depth, last summer, at the peak of the last Momo wave. But I will only highlight the best thinking I've seen this go round and add 4 points – lessons to consider from this time for when the next wave hits (because this will certainly not be the last, and why reinvent the wheel every time?). First the points: Who's the (potential) … [Read more...] about Momo. Again.
There's no rhyme or reason to these things. They show up on different social media platforms, start in different parts of the world, but don’t always "go viral" in regions where they started. There are cultural aspects to what makes them take off but also universal ones: They "excite children's and teens’ imaginations, increase careless media outlets' appetite and opportunities for bigger … [Read more...] about About ‘Momo’ & dealing with viral media scares
June 11, 2017, adding an update in the form of author, journalist and game designer Andrea Angiolino's response to sensationalist tabloid "coverage" in Italy of a new arrest in Russia – see the first sidebar below. My first post on the "Blue Whale challenge" was published March 13 here. Much has happened since then in a number of countries, so an update is in order, but I hope you agree that the … [Read more...] about Core concern: ‘Blue Whale’ & the social norms research