An online phenomenon is being blamed for the death of a 12-year-old Argentinean girl who died as a result of a “suicide challenge” that’s connected to a WhatsApp profile. The challenge is named after the profile it originates from, Momo. The Momo challenge appears to target youth in South America but cases have been reported in the US and Germany.
Users who contact the profile will receive disturbing messages and commands from the user identifying them self as Momo, who orders them to perform tasks which usually results in self-harm. The user threatens it’s victims with violent images or videos as well as claiming there’s a curse if the victim fails to obey. Momo appears to target the young and impressionable causing authorities to ask for parents to monitor their children’s use of WhatsApp.
What makes Momo terrifying is the image that’s being used for its profile picture. Harking back to the creepy smiley faces from the film “Truth or Dare” where people who were cursed by a supernatural game challenges someone to play the game as they have a large smile on their face.
The image of Momo is actually a cropped picture of a sculpture from Link Factory, a Japanese special effects company showcasing a woman/bird hybrid.
By looking up the area code of Momo’s phone number, police in South America have determined the user is using numbers from a couple different countries in South America that make things more stressful for the police because they are either dealing with someone who does not want to be caught OR there are copycats.
Police are advising parents to talk to their kids about Momo and to avoid chatting with it and if they have to ignore the texts and calls.