Microsoft is clamping down on the sick “Momo suicide challenge,” which recently infiltrated the wildly popular online game “Minecraft.”
The tech giant owns “Minecraft” developer Mojang.
The vile “Momo suicide game” has been garnering attention after spreading on WhatsApp, prompting police warnings.
“Momo” is a viral challenge that asks people to add a contact via WhatsApp – they are then urged to commit self-harm or suicide. The “game” has fueled comparisons to the sinister “Blue Whale challenge” that led to reports of suicides in Russia and the U.S, as well as the online fictional character of “Slender Man.” In 2014 two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin attempted to kill a classmate in an attempt to please the horror character.
The Buenos Aires Times recently reported that police in Argentina are investigating whether “Momo” is linked to the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in the district of Escobar.
The grotesque image associated with “Momo” recently appeared as an avatar in “Minecraft.” The avatar is a so-called “mod” – a personalized addition to “Minecraft” made by a user, known as a “modder.”
The macabre avatar reportedly chases “Minecraft” players while brandishing a mobile phone with the WhatsApp icon.
Microsoft told Fox News that it is dealing with the sickening “mod.”
“This content, which was independently developed by a third party, does not align with our values and is not part of the official Minecraft game. This is a misuse of the platform and we are taking action to restrict access to the mod,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
The appearance of “Momo” on “Minecraft” is particularly worrying given the video game’s popularity with children. A police officer in Ohio recently told WTOL that his seven-year old son was watching “Minecraft” content on YouTube when an ad for “Momo” popped up.
Police forces around the world have already issued warnings about the revolting “game.” “Momo” threatens to appear in the night or lay a curse on the users if they do not respond, according to Mexican police. Criminals can use the “game” to steal personal information or even incite users to commit suicide or violence, investigators add.
The “Momo” image was taken from an Instagram account and then circulated on WhatsApp, according to police.
“WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said, in a statement about “Momo” emailed to Fox News earlier this month. “It’s easy to block any phone number and we encourage users to report problematic messages to us so we can take action.”
Sam Webb, Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and the Associated Press contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers