Before the internet became one of the biggest status quos in human history, information came through purely analog sources like magazines, telephones, newspapers and word of mouth.
But the internet changed the world in how we receive information and it has unfortunately evolved to a point of misinformation, deception, gullibility and intensified a gamut or other emotions that can be quite dangerous when you’re not “in the know.”
And that’s exactly what happened with Kim Kardashian when she ignorantly renewed an already dead meme that encourages kids to kill themselves.
The internet probably has more negative effects on society than positives. One of the negatives – piggybacking off of reality television – is that it gave birth to a slew of celebrities with zero talent. They’re either famous for being attractive or because they are painfully stupid.
One celebrity that embodies this notion is Kim Kardashian, who initially became famous because her father, Robert Kardashian, famously represented O.J. Simpson in the trial of the century. Her family steamrolled that notoriety into the reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians and the rest is history.
Her influence on social media is powerful with a staggering 60 million followers on Twitter and 130 million on Instagram. And she used that “influence” to perpetuate a dead meme called Momo that encourages children to kill themselves.
It was called the “Momo Challenge” and it was a hoax that spread like wildfire across the internet in 2016. It shows a disturbing picture of a woman with bulging eyes and an absurdly large mouth. Yes, it looks like something out of a horror movie.
Here’s what she looks like:
"It's incredibly scary": The Kane County sheriff issued a warning to parents about the "Momo Challenge," in which a creepy character pops up in children's videos and urges kids to harm themselves https://t.co/Sy5fElMK16 pic.twitter.com/OfDHhO4Neh
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) March 6, 2019
But just like Slenderman and the silly Tide pod challenge, this was a hoax that disappeared as fast as it rampaged through the internet.
It was gone: but then it came back.
Kardashian became aware of the hoax after she saw a screenshot on Facebook written by a concerned parent circulated on Instagram and Twitter. Kardashian shared the screenshot, adding “@YouTube Please help!!!”
And when 130 million people have the ability to see her posts, you can probably guess what happened from there.
Momo went viral once again.
Then news outlets pick it up and perpetuate the problem that maybe an impressionable curious person will be hypnotized by a problem that didn’t exist until it was reinvigorated.
But the reality is that “Momo” is a sculpture created by a Japanese artist and its actual name is called “mother bird.” It’s a funny looking bird (it has a bird’s lower half) and that same creepy head.
Some anonymous troll used that sculpture to ultimately create worldwide chaos with the Momo video. That’s all it was.
Falling for the hoax is what spreads panic. Then once that happens, news organizations consider it newsworthy, which spreads it even more. It’s a viral cycle that grows exponentially, especially when one of the internet’s biggest influencers uses her social media presence to metastasize the problem.
To be fair, Kardashian was likely inadvertent, for fear that children might be hurt, but her ignorance was dangerous in this particular situation.
Just let the Momo challenge die. Spread the word to not spread the word.