What is Real Anymore?

In class on Friday, we were talking about the Momo Challenge and the damages this hoax has caused internationally. For the longest time, I just assumed that the creator of this character had evil intentions, when in actuality, it was another social media scam that people from the disturbing parts of the internet caught hold of. When Professor McCoy informed us that this horrifying phenomenon is fake, it really concerned me with the way information is spread throughout the world and what actually holds authenticity in our lives anymore.

Side note: The fictional character, Momo, is a terrifying image to look at (trust me, I had difficulty researching for this blog post). The link that I included is the same article that we read through in class, so if you feel like you’re missing out on additional information, you don’t need to open the link if the image is troubling for you to look at. I will provide a paragraph that summarizes these turn of events so you, as a reader of my blog post, won’t feel disconnected.

For those who might not know about the story behind Momo, worry no more! What started out as an artist’s creation was negatively spun into a dark web challenge that put innocent lives in danger. Videos that were assumed to be safe by parents would change into a sickening message for vulnerable audiences (e.g., children) around the world to complete life-threatening tasks. In the end, the story was confirmed as a hoax since there isn’t any conclusive information saying if anyone was actually harmed by this. The original creator of Momo, Keisuke Aiso, mentioned how multiple oversea film production companies have reached out to him for future marketing rights, but Aiso said that “it would be terrible if [he] tried to monetize this.” What was supposed to be an ubume ( a supernatural character) for his job in special effects turned into a sinister trend that puts media, advertisement, and any other outlet for sharing information into question.

People have debunked this challenge as some sort of Darwinian experiment for those in power to see who’d fall for that. This reminded me of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave that Emma brought up in another class. In Plato’s Republic, a group of prisoners are trapped in a cave staring at a wall with shadowy figures made by fire. They were instructed not to turn around and leave the cave for they believed that the shadowy figures (*both/and of the ghostly meaning behind Momo as well) were their reality. It took time before someone courageously left the cave to see the light of the real world for themselves. Applying this to the Momo challenge, someone had to finally speak out against this in order for others to follow and not cause any more harm to themselves.

If this hoax was some sort of social experiment for those in society who innocently believe everything that’s presented in front of them, then is the future of our world doomed? What test puts the lives of the next generation in harm’s way? Sad to say but fake news might not be a ridiculous concept after all.

One Reply to “What is Real Anymore?”

  1. Analiese, I think this article brings up a very important conversation on intellectual humility and intellectual honesty. In part, it is really focusing on what we can/should trust and what we can not/should not trust when we as consumers navigate the internet. Aside from the meme I have seen of the Momo challenge, it is interesting to look at how people do not or choose not to do further research on topics like the Momo Challenge.

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