Tory Lanez has issued a warning to parents about the Momo challenge, a scaremongering stunt that has spread to YouTube.
In a video posted to Instagram, the rapper warns other parents about the Momo challenge, which is reportedly popping up on videos in the YouTube Kids app and features a creepy being named Momo telling kids to kill themselves. He states that he doesn’t typically do these kinds of videos, but felt compelled to let other parents know about it. The Momo challenge gave him “chills.”
Kim Kardashian also recently warned parents about the challenge, though there has been misinformation around whether it’s a real public health issue or just an urban legend amplified (and monetized) by YouTube’s broken algorithm.
Lanez spread a bit of misinformation too: He seems to suggest in the Instagram caption that kids are killing each other as a result of this challenge, which has not been documented yet. He also says Momo is a dog; it’s actually a Japanese sculpture created in 2016, which depicts a creepy woman’s face with bulging eyes and a stretched smile, atop bird legs.
According to Know Your Meme, the Momo challenge originated on WhatsApp and photos of Momo have popped up on different social media platforms like Instagram and Reddit over the last three years. Earlier this week it was reported that Momo was spotted on YouTube by concerned parents in the U.K. who claimed Fortnite and Peppa Pig videos were being spliced with clips of Momo telling kids to kill themselves or others, reminiscent of 2017’s more elaborate Blue Whale Challenge.
YouTube finally issued a statement about the challenge on Wednesday, claiming that “Contrary to press reports, we’ve not received any recent evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube.” Videos about the Momo challenge have existed on YouTube since at least last summer, but consist mostly of YouTubers talking about it or teeing up one of their own SEO-friendly viral stunts for clicks.
Still, YouTube’s issues with damaging kids’ content are very real, and videos about self-harm are being pushed to kids. Lanez is right about one thing: YouTube needs to “FIX THIS SHIT !”