Govt to act against social media firms on Blue Whale game
New Delhi: The government will take action against internet-based social media platforms if they fail to remove links to the deadly Blue Whale Challenge game which has led children to suicide in the country, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.
"People are committing suicide due to Bluewhale game. We received many complaints including from the concerned departments," Prasad said.
"Clear instructions have been issued to all the technology platforms that they must delink this game immediately because under the Indian IT ecosystem no initiative shall be permitted which provokes young boys to commit suicide. This is plainly unacceptable," he added.
The growing cases of attempted suicides by teens provoked concern on Wednesday by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar who remarked in court, "We read about Blue Whale - that it can lead to anything." Separately, Maneka Gandhi, the minster for Women and Child Welfare, on Wednesday urged parents through Twitter "to monitor the activities of children & dissuade them from falling prey to #BlueWhaleChallenge."
Another suspected case of suicide due to the 'Blue Whale Challenge' game has emerged in Kerala even as state police is yet to confirm if the recent suicides are linked to the cyber game.
The family of a 22-year-old man, who had committed suicide by hanging himself inside his home last month, on Wednesday said they suspected that it was a case of 'Blue Whale Challenge' addiction.
Government on August 11 had directed internet majors - Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo - to immediately remove the links to dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicide of children in India and other countries.
"I appeal all the platforms to abide by the direction which the IT ministry has given. It is important and the violation will be viewed very seriously," Prasad said.
The Blue Whale challenge is a social media based game which has led its players to commit suicide. It gives certain tasks to its players for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is also asked to share photos after finishing the every task.
Expressing concern over the availability of such deadly game on the internet, the IT ministry said, "it is understood that an administrator of the game uses 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".
Mumbai and West Midnapore district have reported deaths linked to this game. A teen in Kerala is suspected to have committed suicide while playing this game. There are reports of timely interception of suicide attempt by boys in Solapur and Indore who were playing this deadly game.
The ministry said the proponent of Blue Whale Challenge should be reported to law enforcement agencies.
None of the companies replied to the email query sent to them for information on action taken by them following the ministry's order.
A PIL in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday has asked for internet companies to remove any material linked to the game. The petition also seeks a special team of the Delhi Police be assigned to oversee that internet platforms comply with the order.