Connect with us

Industry

Momo Challenge Hoax Leaves Parents Worried For Kids’ Safety

The Momo challenge, a viral hoax sweeping the internet, encourages kids to speak to “momo” via WhatsApp. Momo allegedly tells people to do dangerous things, including self-harm. Momo has also reportedly been found in YouTube videos targeted towards children, concerning parents. What is the Momo Challenge? A viral game called the Momo challenge is spreading […]

Published

on

  • The Momo challenge, a viral hoax sweeping the internet, encourages kids to speak to “momo” via WhatsApp.
  • Momo allegedly tells people to do dangerous things, including self-harm.
  • Momo has also reportedly been found in YouTube videos targeted towards children, concerning parents.

What is the Momo Challenge?

A viral game called the Momo challenge is spreading around the internet and worrying parents.

The Momo challenge, which is widely known to be a hoax, is popular among young teens and children. It involves this image, depicted below, which is known to those who participate as Momo. The Momo image is actually a statue made by a Japanese artist, and it is not known how it came to be attached to the Momo challenge.

Those who have participated claim that Momo can be reached by texting a certain number on WhatsApp. However, most people who text the rumored numbers that connect to Momo don’t actually get a response.

However, those who do say they reached Momo, claim that they receive incredibly creepy messages and photos. Momo claims to know personal information about the texter, and then encourages the texter to do dangerous activities and record themselves doing it for proof. Some of these activities can allegedly include acts of self-harm and suicide.

Popularity in July

Momo rose to popularity in July, 2018, which is when many initially deemed it a hoax. ReignBot, a YouTuber who often posts content exploring creepy trends, made a video diving into it.

In her video, she claimed that there are three numbers that people use to contact Momo. One of which was Japanese, another Mexican, and another Colombian. However, even the Japanese number, which was the most popular, could communicate in Spanish, making it very popular in Spanish-speaking countries.

ReignBot ultimately chalked Momo up to be a viral urban legend, as it is hard to find examples or screenshots of “real” interactions with Momo.

However, in August police in Argentina investigated whether or not Momo had anything to do with a 12-year-old girl’s suicide. Additionally, the deaths of two people in India, as well as the deaths of two children in Colombia were reportedly linked to Momo. However, the ties were never definitively proven in any of these cases.

BBC also reported that hackers could be behind Momo, using it to get texters’ information, but that has not been confirmed either.

Momo Allegedly Found in Children’s Content

Now, Momo is riding a second wave of popularity, as the hoax has spread, specifically on YouTube. Some have reported that clips of Momo are appearing in videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids.

The videos specifically sited appear to be episodes of Peppa Pig and Fortnite videos. The thumbnails for these videos appear to be safe, and they begin with kid-friendly content, but partway through, Momo shows up.

The images and clips can reportedly be gory, violent, and threatening, and terrify children who see them.

A Facebook post by Amyre Shonny on Tuesday went viral, and stated that parents should be “very cautious of what our child watches on YouTube and KIDS YOUTUBE.”

Facebook post by Amyre Shonny, Screenshot taken by Rogue Rocket

Other parents have shared the post, and claimed they will no longer allow their children to watch YouTube.

This follows another controversy on YouTube, where clips giving instructions as to how to commit acts of self-harm have been found in children’s videos. Right now, it is unclear if these two are related.

Schools and police departments have issued warnings about this. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said:

“Our advice as always, is to supervise the games your kids play and be extremely mindful of the videos they are watching on YouTube. Ensure that the devices they have access to are restricted to age suitable content.”

Facebook post by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Screenshot by Rogue Rocket.

Kim Kardashian also joined the conversation by posting on her Instagram story on Tuesday night asking YouTube to “please help.”

YouTube gave a statement to CBS on Tuesday, where they said they remove content related to the Momo challenge.

“Our Community Guidelines prohibit harmful and dangerous challenges, including promoting the Momo challenge, and we remove this content quickly when flagged to us.”

Even with this new wave, Momo is still a known hoax and many think that parents are overreacting now.

See What Others Are Saying: (Forbes) (CBS) (Newsweek)

Industry

TikTok and Twitter Are Now Deleting Videos That Expose Closeted Olympians on Grindr

Published

on

On top of outing people who may not be ready to have their sexuality revealed to the world, these videos could have endangered LGBTQ+ athletes from countries where homosexuality is illegal.


Closeted Olympians Being Doxxed

Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians are currently more visible than they have ever been before, but unfortunately, so are closeted ones.

That’s because some people have been using the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr to try and find Olympians. They’ve been doing so by using the app’s “Explore” feature, which allows people to search and see users in specific locations (ie. Olympic Village).

But some aren’t content with just discovering which athletes belong to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re also sharing that information on platforms like TikTok and Twitter. 

“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself [an] Olympian boyfriend,” one TikTok user said in a post that had been viewed 140,000 times, according to Insider

That video reportedly went on to show the poster scrolling through Grindr to expose over 30 users’ full faces. 

As many have argued, not only does this potentially out already-stressed Olympians who may not yet be comfortable sharing their sexuality, it also could put some users at serious risk if they live in countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal. 

In fact, the video cited by Insider seemingly did just that, as it reportedly shows the face of a user who appears to be from a country “known for its anti-LGBTQ policies.”

Grindr Responds, TikTok and Twitter Take Action

In response, Grindr said the posts violate its rules against “publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information” from the app. It then asked the posters to remove the content.

Ultimately, it was TikTok and Twitter themselves that largely took action, with the two deleting at least 14 posts scattered across their platforms.

A Highly-Visible LGBTQ+ Presence at the Games 

According to Outsports, at least 172 of around 11,000 Olympians are openly LGBTQ+. While that number is still well below the statistical average, it’s triple the number of LGBTQ+ athletes that attended Rio’s 2016 Games.

In fact, if they were their own country, openly LGBTQ+ athletes would reportedly rank 11th in medals, according to an Outsports report published Tuesday. 

Among those winners is British diver Tom Daley, who secured his first gold medal on Monday and used his platform to send a hopeful message to LGBTQ+ youth by telling them, “You are not alone.”

After winning a silver medal on Wednesday, U.S. swimmer Erica Sullivan talked about her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color. 

Still, the Olympics has faced criticism for its exclusion of intersex individuals, particularly those like South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, who won gold medals in both 2012 and 2016. Rules implemented in 2019 now prevent Semenya from competing as a woman without the use of medication to suppress her testosterone levels. 

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Pink News) (Out)

Continue Reading

Industry

Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity

Published

on

The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.


Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation

YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.  

The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”

If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.

Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.” 

Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves

Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.

“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”

It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.

On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.

Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”

It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”

Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully

While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans. 

This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.

Earlier this year, Paul was also accused of sexual assault, though he denied those allegations.

See what others are saying: (Dexerto)

Continue Reading

Industry

Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary

Published

on

The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission. 


Bourdain’s Voice Recreated

“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.

Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.

That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.

Director Defends Use of AI Voice

The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film. 

“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.” 

Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”

In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”

“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”

“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.” 

The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled

But many want to have that discussion now.

Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.  

Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”

“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted. 

Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”

Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether. 

“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.

Celebrities Recreated After Death

The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.

In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.

See what others are saying: (BBC) (Yahoo! News) (Variety)

Continue Reading