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Govt asks Google, FB, MS, others to remove Blue Whale game links

Government Asked Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft And Yahoo To Immediately Remove Links Of The Dangerous Online Game Blue Whale Challenge, Which Has Led To Suicides Of Children In India

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Himani Gwari | Updated on: 15 Aug 2017, 10:47:01 PM
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New Delhi:

The government has instructed internet majors Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to immediately remove links of the dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicides of children in India and other countries. "Instances of children committing suicide while playing Blue Whale Challenge have been reported recently in India.

You are hereby requested to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from your platform," the Ministry of Electronics and IT(Meity) said in a letter to the internet majors. The letter, dated August 11, was issued following instructions from IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, an official source said.

The Blue Whale is an online ‘suicide game’ where the participants are being asked to finish a set of daring challenges over a 50-day period and then they are being told to kill themselves. According to reports, the game sets challenges initially such as watching horror films, cutting shapes into their skin and finally challenge them to commit suicide.

The users are asked to send photographic evidence back to the creators of the game to complete each challenge. They ask them to send the pictures as proof or they will send threats.

Expressing concern about the availability of such a deadly game on the internet, Meity said, "it is understood that an administrator of the game uses a social media platform to invite/incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead them to take extreme steps for self-inflicting injuries, including suicide".

Many places have reported death linked to this game. Meity said the proponent of Blue Whale Challenge should be reported to law enforcement agencies. Internet Service Provider Association of India's President Rajesh Chharia appreciated the government's motion for issuing the order to block the game. "Social media companies should not have waited for the order of the government. They should have check proliferation of such a game as it is their duty to make internet safe. Government order is highly appreciable and a great order for the present and future generations of the country," Chharia said.

Mumbai-based cyber specialist Prashant Mali said the episode has highlighted the need for a gaming regulator. "Though a late and reactive decision,... this is a very good move. I feel we need a gaming regulator. All gaming content which is suited to our cultural ethos and laws should be allowed in Indian cyber space," Mali said. 

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First Published : 15 Aug 2017, 10:47:01 PM