Facebook quietly removes 'Challenge' feature after hashtags like 'rape, murder and kill' go unreported

It was found that Facebook's 'Challenge' feature allows a user to start any unsolicited challenge, even ones with triggering words like 'murder', 'suicide', 'rape', 'kill', 'stab' etc. within it


                            Facebook quietly removes 'Challenge' feature after hashtags like 'rape, murder and kill' go unreported
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook has temporarily limited the 'Challenge' feature over being unregulated (Getty Images)

Facebook had introduced the #Challenge feature towards the end of last year, keeping with the trend of viral challenges on TikTok, Instagram and other social media apps. However, the feature that prompted users to freely participate in any #Challenge whatsoever was completely unregulated. 

After an analysis by TooFab, who called out Facebook for its irresponsible feature, the company removed it quietly without acknowledging the dangers it posed to users. 

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What were the dangers of the #Challenge feature? 

Facebook launched the feature which allowed any user to start any unregulated #Challenge, simply by adding a hashtag with the word challenge in it. Adorned with a sticker of a trophy, the #Challenge showed a 'Try It' button next to the post, with a prompt saying - "Be Among the first to Join". 

However, TooFab found out that the feature allows a user to start any unsolicited challenge, even ones with triggering words like 'murder', 'suicide', 'rape', 'kill', 'stab' etc. within it. Now a community review was performed on the challenges being created, despite reports of many notorious social media challenges severely injuring people or even claiming lives quite often. 

Facebook has 2.7 billion monthly users worldwide (Getty Images)

The Challenge feature on Facebook did not earn much popularity as anticipated by the creators, unlike the popularity of the trend on TikTok or even Instagram. Perhaps that was the main reason why the loophole in the feature went completely unnoticed for months. Facebook had come under the scanner previously for their controversial community standards, which violated the general ethical responsibility on many occasions. 

After TooFab reported on the dangers posed by the feature, Facebook temporarily limited the feature while a spokesperson stated that the issue is being internally investigated. 

Some of the most dangerous social media challenges

Who can forget the notorious Tide Pod Challenge or Kiki Challenge from the previous years that left many social media users gravely injured. There are also multiple instances of death from partaking in an unregulated social media challenge. For instance, in September 2020, a teenage girl from Oklahoma died after participating in the 'Benadryl Challenge' where people were dared to chug a substantial amount of the medicine at one go - enough to hallucinate.

Benadryl at a medical store (Getty Images)

Then there were notorious dares like the 'Cha Cha Slide Challenge' where participants drove their car according to instructions in lyrics, or the 'pass-out challenge' or Choking Game where participants choked their own airways for getting high but often ended up suffocating to death instead. 

The 'Skull Breaker Challenge' or the 'outlet challenge' also resulted in extreme injuries almost always. 

While public associations and administrative authorities often took actions to issue warnings against specific challenges, these often go on unsupervised, especially when encouraged by the social media platform itself.