A viral drinking game that’s gaining popularity on Facebook and other social media has claimed the lives of five men under the age of 30, and now the game is sweeping the globe.
“Neknominate” participants first film themselves downing a large amount of an alcohol concoction and nominating a friend to outdo them within 24 hours, and then posting the video on social media.
The game doesn’t have any specific rules for what concoction to drink, and according to CNN, the mixes are becoming more and more dangerous and the craze has now prompted health officials to warn young people about the risks of the drinking game and consuming such large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time.
“This is a lethal game,” Dr. Sarah Jarvis, medical adviser for the UK-based charity Drinkaware, told CNN. “The point about alcohol is that it affects your ability to recognize that you’re in danger, and it absolutely affects your ability to react to danger. So we have a double whammy.”
According to WalesOnline, lawyers are now warning that participants of the game could face prosecution for manslaughter. The UK news outlet reported that lawyer Julian Young said, “There is a possibility, if someone knew what the outcome could be, that it could cause death, there could be a prosecution.”
CNN also reported that Facebook has started to come under scrutiny for the role they are playing in the Neknominate craze by not removing the videos participants are posting.
In a statement to the Independent.ie, and Irish news outlet, in early February, Facebook said, “We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but behavior which some people may find offensive or controversial is not always necessarily against our rules. We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis.”
Neknominate has also spread to other social media including Twitter. The Twitter handle @NekNominate has nearly 200 followers, and had posted a total of 75 tweets as of Wednesday morning. Much of the @NekNominate timeline is tweets of participants and other people following the trend that have been retweeted by the account.